The 4th of July Belongs To Us Too…
There are a lot of folks who would have you and I believe that the 4th of July does not truly belong to black folks. While we understand the perspective—it’s not a complete perspective—it just isn’t. We love how Ronda Racha Penrice attacks this issue from a straight up historical and fact based position. She recently wrote this piece on Why the 4th truly does belong to all of us and we respect and salute her for it. Read on….
“The Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine,” Frederick Douglass said in his famous 1852 address “What to the slave is the 4th of July?”
More accurately, the celebration of the Fourth of July, of American freedom in particular, may have then belonged to white Americans but Douglass was mistaken in his assertion that the Fourth of July did not belong to African-Americans. The critical role African-Americans played in establishing the nation is not brought up enough.
There was a time, even during slavery, when it was hard to ignore the fact that Crispus Attucks, a fugitive slave, served as a key catalyst to the American Revolution. When British soldiers fired upon the colonists in 1770, in what is now immortalized as the “Boston Massacre,” Attucks was the first to die.
How ironic that a black man, once enslaved but defying the law that deemed him a slave to take his freedom, would become the martyr for freedom and equality to those who denied him the same dignity?
An estimated 5,000 African-Americans fought in the American Revolution so Frederick Douglass was not correct when he declared that “The Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine.” In fact, it’s this continued oversight of history that plagues us to this day. When Tea Party supporters and others intimate that African-Americans are somehow less American than others, they are dead wrong. It has been argued time and time again that African-Americans are, in many ways, more patriotic than other Americans.
Despite being held in bondage and suffering Jim Crow and other miscarriages of justices, African-Americans have never given up on the great promise of freedom captured in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, the greatness of leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. is that they dared to remind this nation that it was not living up to its potential.
In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, King, whose national monument will be unveiled on August 28, nearly 50 years after the historic 1963 March on Washington, spoke of the “bad check” America had given black Americans while also revealing the hope that African-Americans have generally held on to despite enduring the worst of times. “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt,” he said. “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”
As with every war, including the ones currently being fought, African-Americans have served this nation nobly. So, when it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July, we have just as much right as any other American whose investment in this nation extends back to its very foundation.
I don't think any aspect of this so-called country belongs to us. The land is stolen remember? And in regards to so-called freedom, the people who live in this beast — Black people especially — are not free. Anyone who believes they/we are, is living in the Matrix. I personally don't celebrate the 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, President's Day, or St. Patrick's Day. If you truly know about Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and many of the other signers, you would know one key thing: they were all esquires. What does this mean? To be an esquire, you have to be a Viceroy of the British Crown. What is a Viceroy you ask? A Viceroy is a royal official who runs a country. So if you look at the fine print of the Constitution, you will discover that everything people believe was won as a result of the revolutionary war was actually signed right back over to the British Crown. So when it comes to "independence day", I will quote another famous oppressive monarch, "let them eat cake!" As for Thanksgiving, what do Black people have to be thankful for? And before you say the health of your family, and being with family etc., I have to ask: so you need a special day to be thankful for that? Personally, I wished the Pilgrims had perished. I think that may have put a stop to the slave trade, or at least altered it a little more in our favor. And Christmas…What could be more pagan or commercial than that. Nothing about it is real. And even when you consider (in a German accent) Santa Klaus (St. Nicholas is the GERMAN patron saint of German children), what have the Germans (Goths and Visigoths — savage barbarians) historically thought of Black people? Easter is a continuation of the pagan rituals of Christmas — especially considering the fact that the Jesus myth is stolen from the Ta-Merrian (Egyptian for the less learned) God of immaculate birth and resurrection, Heru. Memorial Day is to honor the fallen soldiers of Amerikkka's military. I have never understood why Black people felt a need to defend Amerikkka, one of our greatest oppressors, so I have no need for that. And then there's President's Day, the joining together of the birthday celebrations of Washington and Jefferson — two slave owners. Nuf said. And finally St. Patrick's Day. The Irish like all other Euro ethnic groups actively and openly participated in slavery, Jim Crow and the overall oppression of Black people here, and in other parts of the world, so why would I care about the patron saint of Ireland? And in closing, most of these holidays are an excuse by a bunch of lazy people, who know little if any history of these holidays, to get off work. I'd rather collect a paycheck on these days.
Just because African Americans fought for someone else's freedom does not mean I as an African American should claim this holiday. I would much rather celebrate when MY people were liberated.
My recent post Happy Father's Day
I'm riding with Frederick Douglas on this one. If the core principles of this country are based on the ideal of "freedom and justice for all" ….then i think it is fair for Frederick Douglas to say "The 4th of July is yours not mines" because generally speaking when it came to freedom and liberty in 1852 it belonged to them…not us.