On July 3, The Federated Church in Edgartown will become the 29th site on the Martha’s Vineyard African American Heritage Trail. As part of the ceremony, trustees will unveil a plaque dedicated to Frederick Douglass, who spoke at the church on Nov. 29, 1857. According to the next day’s account of the speech in the Gazette, Mr. Douglass described the horrors of slavery, and urged Island residents to oppose human bondage in all its forms.

For the past five years, the Federated Church has also hosted a reading of Frederick Douglass’s powerful 1852 speech, The Meaning of Fourth of July to the Negro. The reading begins at noon at the church with the plaque dedication following at 1:30 p.m.

Alice DeLana, a member of the Massachusetts Humanities Council, came up with the idea of reading the famous Douglass speech when she learned that the legendary orator had spoken in Edgartown.

“I got all excited,” she said. “Not only did he speak here, but he spoke at my church!”

She called Mary Jane Carpenter, who works with the event’s sponsor, Friends of the Edgartown Library, and the pair started searching for potential readers. They broke the hour-and-thirty-minute speech into over a dozen parts, and selected Islanders from all walks of life to perform.

“We asked two things,” Ms. Carpenter said, “would they be a good reader, and what connection would they have to the life of Frederick Douglass? He was a newspaper publisher, an orator, a minister, and, actually, a boatbuilder too. All of the qualities Douglass exemplified are manifested in the readers over the years.”

Readers hail from each of the Island’s six towns and represent Mr. Douglass’s varied careers. For instance, E. St John Villard, a descendant of abolitionist publisher William Lloyd Garrison, will close out the proceedings.

“Each year I’ve progressively had less trouble talking people into doing it,” Ms. Carpenter added. “It’s a very affecting speech.”

“Even before Donald Trump, we were trying to keep Frederick Douglass alive,” joked Ms. DeLana. With the annual reading, plaque dedication, and inclusion of The Federated Church on the Heritage Trail, it appears they have. Frederick Douglass’s speech will also be read at Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs at 4 p.m. on July 4, sponsored by Rennaissance House.