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What To Me Is Your Fourth of July?
By Frederick Douglass
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 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….
boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your
pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as
embodied in the two great political parties) is solemnly pledged to
support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your
You hurl your anathemas at the crown-headed tyrants of Russia and Austria
and pride yourselves on your democratic institutions, while you yourselves
consent to be the mere
invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them
with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute
them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but
the fugitives from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot,
and kill. You glory in your refinement and
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