Quote by Frederick Douglass: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of Jul...”
A Nation's Story: "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"
Many copies of one section of it, beginning in para. While referring to the celebrations of the American Independence day the day before, the speech explores the constitutional and values-based arguments against the Slave trade within the United States. As well, Douglass referred not only to the captivity of enslaved people, but to their merciless exploitation and the cruelty and torture to which they were subjected while enslaved. Heath and D. Waymer called this topic the "paradox of the positive" because it highlights how something positive and meant to be positive can also exclude individuals. Douglass compares the treatment of slaves to that of American colonists under British rule and urges them to help the slaves like they helped themselves when breaking free. What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?
For those who feel that way, July 5 may be an easier day to celebrate: on that day in , 4, African Americans paraded down Broadway in New York City to celebrate the end of slavery in their state. One person who felt that way was Douglass, the famous abolitionist, who was himself born into slavery. What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.
Frederick Douglass | July 5, The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and .. What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?.
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A black-and-white photograph of Frederick Douglass wearing a jacket, waistcoat, and bowtie. The wet plate ambrotype plates are housed in a folding leather case with tooled gilt oval mat. It was a scathing speech in which Douglass stated, "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine, You may rejoice, I must mourn. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too, great enough to give frame to a great age.
Independence Day in recent decades has unfortunately become the symbolic gateway to summer in America — featuring grilling and grog, picnics and pyrotechnics, grandiose commercial send-ups of summer cinema, baseball and buoyant, unending hours of beach time. 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. Yet the holiday and the sacred civic pronouncement for decades harbored contradictions that maintained the subjugation of women, the exploitation of non-English-speaking immigrants, the degradation of Native Americans and the humiliation of African humans. In a speech given in Rochester, New York, on July 5, , Douglass rose to the occasion with searing hot rhetoric:. The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event.