Fellow Americans, we enjoyed our fireworks spectacles, our Star-Spangled Banners, and our cookouts. Many of us looked back with pride to those early days in our country’s history, to the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
On July 5, 1852, 76 years after our nation declared its independence, Frederick Douglass spoke passionately about the bravery and greatness of America’s founding fathers. Douglass addressed a prestigious audience, including president of the United States. With a fluency and poetry rivaling that of Shakespeare, Douglass unleashed a passionate tirade against slavery which continues to mock our country’s history of “freedom for all.” Douglass also condemned the church of that time for grossly misinterpreting scripture to support the evils of slavery.
In his words:
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.
I hate the legacy of slavery in this country. More tomorrow.