What is the 4th of July to Me — 2017

We are sitting out back reading and listening to Frederick Douglass ask What to the Slave (or Negro) is the 4th of July? This 4th of July is yours — not mine, as Douglass notes. White America elected a white supremacist in our age of furthering oppression. Though no longer slaves — I ask — how many white allies are with us in championing our missing voices — in leadership and in change. This 4th is not mine. Black folk — have you read this? Spend time pondering the language of Douglass, as he notes,

“…You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times….This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!”


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