Black People : 4th of July Speech, Frederick Douglass

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by cherryblossom, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    "What To The Slave Is The 4th Of July?"
    FREDERICK DOUGLASS SPEECH, 1852


    Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? 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? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

    Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that the dumb might eloquently speak and the "lame man leap as an hart."

    ...........

    ........

    Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! Whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorry this day, "may my right hand cleave to the roof of my mouth"! To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view.

    .........

    For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not as astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, and secretaries, having among us lawyers doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators, and teachers; and that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshiping the Christian's God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!...

    What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply....

    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.

    http://www.freemaninstitute.com/douglass.htm
     
  2. Corvo

    Corvo navigator of live MEMBER

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    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.



    Still true today as it was then!
     
  3. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    words of truth and realism as i learn the truth and it's words , Thankz
     
  4. Chinelo

    Chinelo Third Eye Is Always Open MEMBER

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    You have to wonder about a being that goes and celebrates itself nearly wiping out a whole group of people, and just stealing their land, and then on top of that, snatch millions of another group from their homeland, and trek them across a whole ocean to force them to build their stolen property up...smh...whew!!!

    And they make it so it seems that they're CELEBRATING FREEDOM....lol....unbelievable

    Any fool that seriously goes out and celebrates this genocidal and wicked holiday with these beasts are not right in the head.
     
  5. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    I hear ya bruh !
    fo real time we understand what independency is about
     
  6. Full Speed

    Full Speed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Frederick Douglas was one seriously amazing Brother!!! He was laying it down hard, heavy, and without holding punches in 1852, over 100 years before the end of slavery!!! I love this Brother and the place he holds in our history.
     
  7. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    What year are you counting as the "end of slavery?"
     
  8. Full Speed

    Full Speed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    OOOOP's

    How about over 10 years before the end of slavery? I had not had my coffee yet. Posting before coffee is not a good idea for me. :geek:
     
  9. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    LOL! I totally understand!

    But I did wonder if you were perhaps marking 1965 instead of 1865 as the "end of slavery," although that could, indeed, be debated.
     
  10. Full Speed

    Full Speed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Nope, I go with 1865, about two and a half years after the signing of the emancipation proclamation. Although the early stages of "Freedom" certainly weren't easy, many of our people stopped living as slaves. Although I am sure it wasn't easy for Frederick Douglas, he lived an extremely productive life as a free man. Many men since that time have done things for us that could not have been done by a slave. So for me, the clock of freedom started June 19, 1865....commonly referred to as "Juneteenth".
     
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