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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