Did You Celebrate Independence Day?

Frederick Douglass rhetorically asked, “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, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”  

Some may say as citizens of this county we should be glad to be in America. Why not celebrate the 4th of July! We have freedoms in this country that citizens of other countries are not allowed to excercise. Do we ALL have the right to freely walk out those freedoms? America is the greatest country in the world! If that is your argument some may say how did this so-called greatness come about? Our free labor helped to make this country “great”. Does the free labor of Africans then gurantee freedom for us in this country now? If America is so great why is there a rallying cry to make America great again? If we as African people were worse off then in America than we are now, what is the hope to return toward?

W.E.B. Dubois spoke about the struggle we have with being African and African-American. Everyone else came to this country as immigrants except us. Given our present struggles to survive and thrive in this country and our  history in how we came to this country should we really celebrate the 4th of July–Independence Day? Whose liberty are we celebrating?

As we gathered for  barbecues and “picnics” did the origin of the term, practices and its meaning even cross our minds? We are told that slavery is in the past and we should forget about it. How can we forget something we have not recovered from?  We have a personal responsibility to participate in our own liberation by first understanding the impact of the past so that we can live without shackles in the present.

As our country rejoiced yesterday over its freedom from British tyranny, WE as African (Americans) are continuing to suffer in this country under the oppression of racism and inequality. Amos Wilson helps us to understand that when we truly know history what we consider to be accomplishments in politics, economics, and family today has been done by us before in the past. He further suggests that there seems to be a bar on how high we are allowed to rise as African-Americans in this country. Frederick Douglass asked, “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?” I ask what to the African-American, is your Fourth of July? It is a complicated question but it must be honestly contemplated answered for yourself?

Thank you for reading.

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Share your authentic thought. Join the conversation.

Peace and light,

Dr. Free

Author: Dr. Free

Dr. Free is a veteran educator. Her area of expertise is African-centered education consulting. She is a life learner who is passionate about truth, liberation, and justice. Dr. Free strives to be true to herself. She expresses herself in a way that enhances the lives of others and she enjoys giving others the space and encouragment to do the same.

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