2019-07-05 Frederick Douglass

I am reading What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? It’s a speech given in 1852 at the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Association by Frederick Douglass. It’s a long read. I recommend it.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th 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 denunciations 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 these United States, at this very hour.

Read it, and think about slaves back then, but of all the other victims these days, near you. Think of the refugees trying to reach Europe, and how we keep them in concentration camps; of the refugees trying to reach the United States, and how they keep them in concentration camps, how they keep children in cages made for dogs.

It is our great shame.

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