July 4, 2015

How Black Folks Feel About Independence Day

On the 2nd of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress gave words to the idea of liberty as follows:
"Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved."
Our Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th of July ... and our nation celebrates it with great pride and patriotism. The principles in the Declaration of Independence should be sacrosanct to all of us.

However, we know that the principles were not applied to Americans of African descent. Frederick Douglass said it best on July 5, 1852 when he was a keynote speaker.

I encourage all villagers to read the full speech.

However, here is the section of his speech that I read to myself every year on the 4th of July. This part of his speech resonates with all African Americans:
"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 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 on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour."
Villagers, our nation is much better today than we were 163 years ago on the date of this speech from Frederick Douglass.

All Americans can share in the pride of our nationality. However, we must never forget our past, lest it be repeated!