The 4th of July for a Slave

I read this yesterday and it’s one of the most eloquent and damning speeches I’ve ever read. I can only imagine what it would have been like to hear Frederick Douglass give it in person. You should read the whole thing, but here’s my favorite paragraph:
bq. 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 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.

1 thought on “The 4th of July for a Slave”

  1. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” is a great read. It was written by himself and describes his life from slavery to a free man. I’d be happy to loan my copy out.

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