Douglass Day Transcribe-A-Thon: Home

Since 2017, the life, work, and legacy of Frederick Douglass has been celebrated every February 14 through a transcribe-a-thon, a crowd-sourced effort to translate physical records of Black history into readily accessible digital documents. Marquette has participated since 2019. 

In 2019, the Marquette University Libraries and the Ott Memorial Writing Center collaborated on Marquette University's first Douglass Day transcribe-a-thon. These efforts were led by Dr. Lisa Lamson, who was at the time a doctoral candidate in history and a peer tutor at the Ott. 

Transcribe-a-Thon 2023 Overview

In 2023, the Douglass Day Transcribe-A-Thon features records from the papers of Mary Ann Shadd Cary

Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823 - 1893) was an anti-slavery activist and speaker, a teacher, a journalist and publisher, lawyer and suffragist.  Born to free African-American parents in Delaware, her family moved first to Pennsylvania, then to Canada (what is now Ontario) in pursuit of education and opportunity. As an adult, she later moved back to the United States to teach, speak, and recruit Black soldiers for the Union Army.   

Here are some links with more information about her.

How to Participate in 2023

Everyone can participate! No prior experience or training is needed. If you'd like to take part in the library's transcribe-a-thon in person, stop by the first floor of Raynor, February 14, 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 3:00-5:00 p.m.; please RSVP here if you plan to join us.

To contribute to this year’s efforts from wherever you are, pull up a computer, turn on the Internet, and follow the instructions below! 

  1. First, watch this 7-minute video. It will introduce you to a free online platform for transcribing called Zooniverse, and it will give you step-by-step instructions for getting started. 
  2. Next, click to this site where you will find records of all kinds—letters, pamphlets, newspapers and more—ready to transcribe. 
  3. Enjoy! Transcribing is a fun, interactive way to learn, whether you work alone and interact mainly with the documents you transcribe, or you get together with others and treat transcribing as more social and collaborative work.