The goal of the lecture is to maintain the legacy of the great abolitionist, orator, and statesman Frederick Douglass before the campus community, local community, region, and the nation. The Dr. Clifford E. DeBaptiste Frederick Douglass Lecture is an educational and cultural resource for advancing multicultural studies across the community and for deepening the intellectual heritage of Frederick Douglass. Each year a guest lecturer is invited to be the speaker, with the goal of attracting a wide audience. 

The lecture, which is open to the public free of charge, is hosted by the Frederick Douglass Institute and is made possible through the generous gift of Dr. Clifford DeBaptiste, the first African‐American mayor of West Chester Borough and a recognized champion of education. Highlighting Dr. DeBaptiste’s life of service and dedication to the West Chester University community, Dr. Christopher Fiorentino made the following observations, “Our students and those who live in the community are fortunate to be aligned with an individual who is deeply committed to advancing humanity and initiating rich conversations about the legacy of a man whose life merits much reflection.”

“All of us can become well‐rounded citizen scholars by studying Douglass’ example, examining issues of social justice, and improving the present by learning from the past. We are equally proud that West Chester University’s Frederick Douglass Institute will be taking the lead in coordinating these particularly relevant lectures for many years to come.”

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