"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."
"Listen up. Today, this 4th of July weekend, The Daddy is feeling the honorable Frederick Douglass, the great African American leader and fiery abolitionist speaker, and, parenthetically, the person who pressured President Abraham Lincoln to write the Emancipation Proclamation speech.
During the 1850's, Frederick Douglass, a tremendously gifted speaker, spent about six months out of each year making speeches against slavery and for freedom, including the freedom of women.
On July 5, 1852, he gave a speech on the Declaration of Independence. It was held at the Corinthian Hall, in Rochester, not far from his home in Rochester, New York. It was a biting and, at times, fiery speech. Whether the audience wanted to hear it or not, a brotha spoke the truth as boldly as anyone has spoken it before. He said, "The Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn." Gazing into the crowd, he asked, "Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?"
Then he made what biographer and historian Philip S. Foner called "...probably the most moving passage in all of Douglass' speeches."
"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 Unites States at this very hour..."
Have you heard of Douglass' Fourth of July speech? Does some of his accusations still hold true today, more than 157 years after his speech?