On this day, the United States of America celebrates Independence Day or the Fourth of July. It is the day the nation published its Declaration of Independence from the British empire. Let us also keep in context, the reality of the enslavement and barbaric treatment of many Africans during that same period. Let us always remember and not allow others to ignore the reality that the vestiges of slavery still remain.
Here are excerpts of an almost hour-long speech delivered by abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1852.
…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
...What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.
...To him, your celebration is a sham. Your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the Earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
Enjoy your cookouts, shopping discounts and day off from work but think on Frederick Douglass and this speech.