Remembering All Parts of Our History this July 4th

In her Facebook post, Charnell Parker Mcmullen-Bushman, VP of Programs, Interpretation & Exhibits at the Butterfly Paviolion in Thornton, CO states, "On this #4thofJuly, as you celebrate let's remember all parts of our history. In his 1852 speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" Frederick Douglass asks inclusive questions about the founding United States and the meaning of freedom for all.

If you think this speech is anti - 4th or Independence, it is not. In his speech, Douglass acknowledged the celebration of the 4th and Founding Fathers of America saying:

'Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history — the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. 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....'


'Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too, great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory….

Douglass states that the nation's founders are great men for their ideals for freedom, but in doing so he brings awareness to the hypocrisy of their ideals with the existence of slavery on American soil. Douglass continues to discuss the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, to enslaved African Americans experiencing grave inequality and injustice.'"

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Thank you for this. One of my favorite historical speeches.