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!

19 comments:

the teach said...

So many people forget our unfortunate history, Wayne. And when Michelle Obama says "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country." I don't understand why everybody gets all up in arms. We just seem to forget the things America has done: slavery, Manzanar, etc. Things we have to face and be very, very remorseful for. Anyway, I posted the flag and how proud I am of it but we can't ever forget that America has/had it's terrible faults. We need a little humility, may a LOT of humility! But today I wish you happy 4th, Wayne!

More people should read what Frederick Douglass wrote. Then they won't think Rev. Wright is so negative for no reason.

Danielle said...

This is one of my favorite speeches. I used this one last Fourth of July.

In order for America to truly move forward as a country we must take the hard look at our past. Has America ever issued a formal apology to African Americans?

I agree with "the teach" regarding Rev. Wright, as well. Real dialogue is never pretty, often difficult but alas the only way this country can rise above our sordid past.

I am beginning to think there is such a thing as National karma.


As always.....


Danielle

WillThink4Wine said...

My hope is that the day will comes when we will not have to remember it, because it's no longer necessary.

Jamie said...

And the women of any color couldn't vote until 1920, but in 1872 for the first time, there was a woman and a black man running for the presidency and vice presidency, and the man running for VP was Frederick Douglas.

I've often wondered why there wasn't more celebration of Juneteenth since it encapsulates how long the news of freedom took to reach those most effected by the change.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Excellent Villager, excellent. Have a great MM. :)

Villager said...

The Teach - I agree that it is important for all of us to learn more about all parts of our nation's history ... not just the normal stuff that we're told in school. Anyhow, I'm hopeful that my post will give some a unique insight into the 4th of July holiday...

Danielle - I'm just grateful to you for your continued support. Our karma remains strong...

WillThink4Wine - I disagree with you. I want us to remember so that we don't repeat it. Much like the Jewish community doesn't want us to forget the holocaust. Never forget. Then we will never be doomed to repeat the same historical mistakes...

Jamie - I know about Frederick Douglass' candidacy. Who was the woman?

Sandee - Asante sana!

Attorneymom said...

Why don't America celebrate September 22, 1862 or January 1, 1863 for the Emancipation Proclamation?? Can we even get a mentioned of these dates?

Attorneymom said...

Sidebar: Villager, I know you are a very respectful man. But.... what is up with th boobie picture of the World Greatest Tenis Star. Can you jack a more respectful photo of her without her twins poppin out of her shirt?? LOL

Attorneymom said...

Sidebar #2, Attorneymom almost died on Thursday so I am truly greatful to be here. Check out my post:

http://charactercorner.blogspot.com/2009/07/im-still-here-by-grace-of-god.html

Villager said...

AttorneyMom - Americans don't much recognize the two dates you mention ... although there is growing traction for recognition and celebration of Juneteenth at national and state levels.

re: Serena sidebar photo -- I resisted my baser urge to show her in the bikini (smile). I notice that the link attached to that photo is the 'most clicked on link' on my blog over the past 24 hours ... boobies pull in the eyeballs!

Jamie said...

You might enjoy reading this article about who benefitted from the Revolutionary war

Progressive Dot Org

Villager said...

Jamie - Excellent referral. I did enjoy reading the Untold Truths of the American Revolution!

cathouse teri said...

Very well said. Thank you for the reminder.

Lawyer Mama said...

I'm starkly reminded of the inequality when I hear that famous line from 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."
I was showing my boys the School House Rock version of the Declaration of Independence last night and Hollis, my 5 year old, actually asked me why it just said "men." That led to a nice discussion about all those who weren't included in the rights granted by our constitution, in part, because I'd read this blog post.

Villager said...

cathouse teri - I appreciate you for taking time to share your comments. So few people actually POST COMMENTS any longer ... it makes a blogger smile to know that someone is reading his stuff!

Lawyer Mama - Your boys are blessed to have an open-minded Mama willing to teach them things that may not be taught in school...

Carolyn Moon (Amina) said...

"Villagers, our nation is much better today than we were 159 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!"

I totally agree with that, however,
I see the tide turning again and the cyclic nature of finding new and improved ways of exclusion in this country. History, unfortunately, with us tends to repeat itself.
http://perspectives-anotherwaytoview.blogspot.com

I have Marvin's and Whitney's version of the National Anthem on my playlists and when I hear them--it reminds me of how true those principles are regardless of previous regimes and the exceptions that were made while running the country.

Villager said...

Amina - Thank you very much for your comments. It is always nice to know that somebody out there is reading these blog posts. I never thought of putting the Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston audio clips on my iPod. Good idea!

Keith said...

That speech should be read out loud - and I do mean loud -from one corner of this country to the other every July 4. Without a doubt this piece by Frederick Douglass is one of this nation's most important historical documents.

Villager said...

Keith - Amen! I plan to continue re-posting this one each year on July 4th ... so at least us villagers will be reminded about the fact that independence means different things to different people...