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UMBC honors Frederick Douglass Day with a Transcribe-a-Thon

Frederick Douglass Day is celebrated to honor the birthday of the esteemed civil rights activist and abolitionist. To take part in this celebration, UMBC held its first Transcribe-a-Thon in the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery. This was the first installment of the Humanities Teaching Labs.

Throughout the event, Douglass was honored with the reading of his speech, the sharing of meaningful ideas and quotes and even a birthday cake with his face on it.  This was a perfect addition to the other various Black History Month events being held around campus.

The Transcribe-a-Thon’s are part of the Freedman’s Bureau Transcription Project which is sponsored by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian Transcription Center and the Colored Conventions Project which began in 1830.

Transcribe-a-Thon’s make it possible for historic records to become accessible online. This makes it easier for educators, future scholars, historians and everyday people to take advantage of all the knowledge hidden within these papers. Courtney Hobson, a UMBC alumn with a Masters in historical studies said this event was very fitting for Douglass day because “he was a man of action, and by providing this service we are honoring him in a way.”

The Humanities Teaching Labs are only one part of the new Inclusion Imperative program. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this program aims to grow a prosperous and successful humanities faculty within the four partnered schools. UMBC is teaming up with Coppin State, Howard University and Bowie State University to accomplish this goal over the next four to five years.

By including these famous HBCU’s, the program is guaranteed to have a great mix of faculty from all different cultures and backgrounds. It is imperative for our humanities faculty to be experts when it comes to diversity and inclusion. In our modern world, the cultural mixing pot is growing drastically and our educators have to expand their knowledge in order to adapt to that.

The three branches of the program are the Humanities Teaching Labs, the Diversity Teaching Networks and Visiting Faculty Fellowship Program.  These three branches will provide a network of faculty that can share and create ideas as well as introduce them to new media tools that can be helpful in the teachings of the humanities.

Douglass once said, “We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful for the present and the future.” The Inclusion Imperative program is making it possible for us to do just that. Everyone and anyone can lend a helping hand, and attend one of the programs. To get more details or stay updated on upcoming events, check the myumbc events page or