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CT Freedom Trail

The Frederick Douglass court is located on the south corner of the Meeting House property at the corners of Gold and Main Streets. Mr. Douglass gave his first speech in Hartford on May 18, 1843. When all other places were unavailable, Rev. Joel Hawes allowed Mr. Douglass to speak on the portico of Center Church, although he was not allowed inside.

“[We] found several towns in which people closed their doors and refused to entertain the subject. Notably among those were Hartford, Conn., and Grafton, Mass. In the former, [we] determined to hold our meetings under the open sky, which we did in a little court under the eaves of the ‘sanctuary’ ministered unto by the Rev. Dr. Hawes with much satisfaction to ourselves and I think great advantage to our cause.”

- from the Douglass autobiography

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