As the fourth of July approaches in the aftermath of the massacre of the South Carolina nine, history continues to repeat itself with church burnings, and protests against the confederate flag still flying above government buildings in the south. 163 years later Douglass’ words are still poignant. The question remains, how will we break the cycle of systemic racism and the infrastructure that it thrives in?
Excerpt from a speech by Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852, Rochester, New York
“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 sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, 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.”