Acclaimed actor and leading social justice activist Danny Glover will be the Black History Month keynote speaker at Quinnipiac University on Feb. 6.
“From Abolition to #BLM: A Conversation with Danny Glover,” will take place at 7 p.m. at Burt Kahn Court on the Mount Carmel Campus, 275 Mount Carmel Ave. The event is free and open to the public.
Driven by activists like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, early abolitionist efforts became the foundation for contemporary debates over the meaning of freedom. The Black Lives Matter movement, named for the hashtag started on Twitter, is steeped in the American tradition of using free speech and social actions to further the fight for justice and equality.
In a fireside chat-style program with Khalilah Brown-Dean, associate professor of political science, Glover will explore the similarities of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and its early abolitionist roots –– particularly Frederick Douglass –– to build connections, increase dialogue and end racism.
Glover said he often recites the powerful Douglass speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” from July 5, 1852 in Rochester, N.Y.
“It’s the greatest Fourth of July speech ever,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious when we look at what’s happening today, it’s relevant, not only as we look at the issues around race that are happening in this country, but the issues around race that are happening in the rest of the world. Are the people of color the ones who are the most vulnerable and the most marginalized in this system of capitalism? Of course, they are. It’s historic.”
Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years. As an actor, his film credits range from the blockbuster “Lethal Weapon” franchise to smaller independent features, some of which Glover also produced. In recent years, Glover has starred in an array of motion pictures, including the Oscar-nominated hit “Dreamgirls.”
Glover has gained both respect and renown for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts, with a particular emphasis on advocacy for economic justice and access to health care and education programs in the US and Africa. Currently Glover serves as UNICEF Ambassador.
“I remember visions of my great-grandmother, who was born in 1853,” Glover said. “She was freed by emancipation like my great-grandfather. I remember my mother telling me how grateful she was for her mother and father because she didn’t pick cotton in September, she went to school in September. All that changed me. My legacy goes back from slavery on to the end of slavery, my direct context, through my great-grandmother.”
Quinnipiac is marking the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth with a series of events to honor his life and his many achievements.