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.
I used to love celebrating the 4th of July when I was a kid.
You know, ice cream, apple pie, friends, family, freedom and liberty, right?
Well, I’m sad to report that my joy for the holiday changed once I went to school and learned the irony surrounding it…
What with slavery and all.
Here’s the odd part, nobody I talked to really wanted to acknowledge this ginormous paradox.
Trust me, no teacher, not even the Black ones, pointed this enigma out to me; it was something I had to figure out on my own.
I remember asking my mom why we were celebrating freedom and independence for America when our ancestors were slaves at the time.
Mama just cut her eyes at me and said, “HUSH your mouth!”
Clearly, I wasn’t telling her anything new…
In fact, I was pretty much stating the obvious.
But, I guess she didn’t want to deal with the heaviness that inevitably encroaches on Black folks whenever they attempt to reconcile the holiday with the history.
So, in my family, we simply opted not to go there.
Don’t get me wrong, since everybody was off work, we went with “the flow” and attended reunions, cook-outs and the like– sans the flag waving gratitude of independence.
In short, we worked it, but it wasn’t lost on us.
And, based on the quote I cited above, it most certainly was NOT lost on our dear Frederick Douglass, who gave a fiery speech to the nation back in 1852.
The premise of this magnificent oration?
“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”
Chile, Frederick read America for filth!
IN 1852 no less!
Honestly, I can’t help wondering what he would think about our current state of affairs and the super slow “progress” we’ve made.
Especially considering the fact that he still held out hope for our country all those years ago.
All in all, Mr. Douglass believed that The Divine was and is in control.
So do I.
As you think about that, please enjoy a reading (excerpts) from this important work-performed by me, LadyG, and my dear cousin and fellow blogger, Ron Brown.
LadyG loves YOU!