“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” | Teaching American History
“Your celebration is a sham. Your national greatness? Swelling vanity. Your sounds of rejoicing are empty, heartless. Your shouts of liberty and equality? Hollow mockery. A thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.“ - Douglass
Ida Bae Wells
As we celebrate this day of independence I once again post Frederick Douglass’s iconic speech: What to the Slave is the 4th of July. In a time where folks are again pushing civility over justice, pay special attention to his thoughts on that.
The best thing ever written about the 4th of July
Frederick Douglass’ indictment of the US for slavery ends with a peroration vesting hope for emancipation in...the spread of trade, the development of technology, the growth of a globalized marketplace of ideas, and the “genius of American Institutions.”
Deborah E. McDowell
This July 4th, join me in re-reading Frederick Douglass’s fireworks of a speech: What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" - Teaching American History
#FrederickDouglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” is required reading for all who claim to defend the ideals of America. To confront the truth of our history and chart a course to change it, is the greatest love of country. #July4
Make this astonishing 1852 speech your read for today: Frederick Douglass on “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” (via
Jonathan H. Adler
Worth reading again: Frederick Douglas, "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of the July?"
Link to the full text Frederick Douglass’ speech of July 5, 1852.
Sachin H. Jain, MD
Happy #IndependenceDay, America. Recently read #FrederickDouglas “What, to a Slave, is the Fourth of July.” An important reminder that the fight for freedom is a continuous one that never ends.
“Oppression makes the wise man mad . . . . . . “
“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” #FrederickDouglass July 5, 1852
"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 drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems . . . Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” - Frederick Douglass on the meaning of July 4th, 1852
Our fight for freedom didn't end in 1776, it's an ideal we as Americans fight for every single day. This #IndependenceDay, I’m meditating on the words of Frederick Douglass, describing that struggle:
"I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles.”
As I tell my social and political philosophy students this speech, delivered to the citizens of Rochester in 1852 by Fredrick Douglass, is among the greatest speeches in history--it is perfect. And it is one we should all be reading today.
john stuart thrill
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...
There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour. -Frederick Douglass, 1852