What to the Slave Is Fourth of July?

Topics: United States, Slavery, Slavery in the United States Pages: 2 (795 words) Published: May 20, 2013
Each year, United States citizens celebrate Independence Day/The Fourth of July with cheerful barbeques, music and fireworks; but African Americans seem to also delight themselves in getting together for the Fourth of July as well. They celebrate by having cookouts, laughing, socializing, lighting fireworks, and generally enjoying themselves together. But, what significance does the Fourth of July really mean for those who were slaves? This question is worth exploring. Frederick Douglas seemed to share the sentiments that the holiday meant nothing to us as a race of people during his time. Douglas’s speech regarding the Fourth of July expressed heartache, pain, embarrassment, and humiliation. To those sitting before him, he let it be known that he was a former slave, and that they were the only ones who truly benefited from Independence Day. Why did they call upon Frederick Douglas to speak that day? This is the question he was asking, nonetheless, he expressed how he felt regarding this holiday. He conveyed that Independence Day did not show true equality among all people. He further stated that all men were not created equal and that The Constitution did not apply to his race of people. Throughout his speech, he articulated that, in his opinion the celebration was hypocritical and insulting to slaves. What to the slave is Fourth of July? Douglas elucidates his point by pointing out the evil doings of America towards his people. He states that, The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not me. Are we blind and ignorant, or do we just not care? I respect Frederick Douglas because he stood up for the ancestors of African Americans when no one else did. With unmitigated gall and intestinal fortitude, he unashamedly told whites how he and my ancestors felt. Moreover, he told them that they had mocked him by inviting him to speak about their Independence Day. Speaking with simple eloquence,...
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