Limited Debate The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

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gem

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On this day July 5 1852 in Rochester, New York, Frederick Douglass gave one of his most famous speeches.

He was asked to speak before a white audience about the meaning of the 4th of July to the black population.

In his scathing oratory Douglass rebuked the American society's attitude towards slavery.

"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."

Full speech:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2927t.html
 

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Pat Young

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The Atlantic Magazine has an interesting article on changes in the way the 4th of July was clebrated by the African American communities before, during, and after the Civil War. You can find the article here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/07/fourth-of-july-black-holiday/564320/

African Americans like Douglass began making the glorious anniversary their own. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, the nation’s four million newly emancipated citizens transformed Independence Day into a celebration of black freedom. The Fourth became an almost exclusively African American holiday in the states of the former Confederacy—until white Southerners, after violently reasserting their dominance of the region, snuffed these black commemorations out.
 
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The Atlantic Magazin has an interesting article on changes in the way the 4th of July was clebrated by the African American communities before, during, and after the Civil War. You can find the article here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/07/fourth-of-july-black-holiday/564320/

African Americans like Douglass began making the glorious anniversary their own. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, the nation’s four million newly emancipated citizens transformed Independence Day into a celebration of black freedom. The Fourth became an almost exclusively African American holiday in the states of the former Confederacy—until white Southerners, after violently reasserting their dominance of the region, snuffed these black commemorations out.

Here is some more on the same subject.
Yikes! Are you sure that got the correct link. My day is ruined...the link (more on the same subject) opened to a 3-1/2 minute video of Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up." My ears! :help:
 

diane

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Interesting article, Pat. Forrest's famous Pole Bearers speech was given at a July 5th black celebration - just this kind. Most of the white speakers there encouraged blacks to forget about their newly won freedoms and being full citizens, except for Forrest's speech. He got into ten different kinds of trouble for the content of his speech - recognizing black voting rights, opposing segregation, acknowledging their birthright as Southerners alongside whites and equalizing black women with white women by kissing a black woman in public. Gave all his old troopers the vapors!
 
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Before the Civil War for enslaved Blacks:

"What, to the American slave, is your Fourth 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 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.

"Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms- of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival."

Excerpt from a July 5, 1852 Frederick Douglass speech, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro" given in Rochester, NY from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Other Writings, pg. 163
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Douglas is awesome, who glues words together more succinctly? I say is not ' was ' because boy, you read his various speeches and could swear you're listening to the man. The Liberator printed almost everything he said- you can get lost for hours doing a search.

I have this one saved somewhere, from when it was printed. I grew up with the usual 4th of July celebrations, parades, flags, remembering Revolutionary War ancestors, all of it. Wayyy back in high school yep, it was a teacher who first dented that image. Shuffling off the ' question ' of slavery for future generations was the gist of her lesson, that the Founding Fathers had done it was so shocking to me as a kid it was like the day you discover Santa isn't real.
 

CLuckJD

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Douglas is awesome, who glues words together more succinctly? I say is not ' was ' because boy, you read his various speeches and could swear you're listening to the man. The Liberator printed almost everything he said- you can get lost for hours doing a search.

I have this one saved somewhere, from when it was printed. I grew up with the usual 4th of July celebrations, parades, flags, remembering Revolutionary War ancestors, all of it. Wayyy back in high school yep, it was a teacher who first dented that image. Shuffling off the ' question ' of slavery for future generations was the gist of her lesson, that the Founding Fathers had done it was so shocking to me as a kid it was like the day you discover Santa isn't real.
Douglass's verbal eloquence was also cited by white abolitionists as "evidence" that he was an impostor vs. fugitive slave on the run for liberty.
 

CLuckJD

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Interesting article, Pat. Forrest's famous Pole Bearers speech was given at a July 5th black celebration - just this kind. Most of the white speakers there encouraged blacks to forget about their newly won freedoms and being full citizens, except for Forrest's speech. He got into ten different kinds of trouble for the content of his speech - recognizing black voting rights, opposing segregation, acknowledging their birthright as Southerners alongside whites and equalizing black women with white women by kissing a black woman in public. Gave all his old troopers the vapors!
Let 'em vape on their own hate of Truth!
 

CLuckJD

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The Atlantic Magazine has an interesting article on changes in the way the 4th of July was clebrated by the African American communities before, during, and after the Civil War. You can find the article here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/07/fourth-of-july-black-holiday/564320/

African Americans like Douglass began making the glorious anniversary their own. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, the nation’s four million newly emancipated citizens transformed Independence Day into a celebration of black freedom. The Fourth became an almost exclusively African American holiday in the states of the former Confederacy—until white Southerners, after violently reasserting their dominance of the region, snuffed these black commemorations out.
So why did no badly defeated rebel state gladly snuff out Blacks who celebrate Juneteenth? Weird! Just more blatant self-contradiction of racism??
 

archieclement

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So why did no badly defeated rebel state gladly snuff out Blacks who celebrate Juneteenth? Weird! Just more blatant self-contradiction of racism??
Perhaps because it wasnt much of a holiday and weren't many celebrating it

4th of July had been a state holiday since 1781, Juneteenth 1980.........…

While Juneteenth has its origins in local celebrations in Texas at the time, it didn't catch on much nationally or in other states till far later from what I've read. Dont think there would have been a much of a comparison between july 4th and juneteenth celebrations in the 1800's nationally, Honestly there isn't even today in numbers and scale of celebrations
 
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Before the Civil War for enslaved Blacks:

"What, to the American slave, is your Fourth 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 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.

"Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms- of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival."

Excerpt from a July 5, 1852 Frederick Douglass speech, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro" given in Rochester, NY from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Other Writings, pg. 163

Apparently the posts from another thread that had been started by @Pat Young have been merged with this thread. That's why my above post appears in this thread.
 
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