Jul. 4, 2020
The Black Blogger Writing and Speaking - Reflecting On The 4th Of July
Last year I created this post honoring the speech that Frederick Douglass gave related to the celebration of the 4th of July. I continue to be dispirited about America's 4th of July. Now, even more, so that the current resident in the supposed nation's house has decided to unleash military armaments in parade fashion in our nation's capital. It has always seemed questionable for Americans of African Descent to celebrate the 4th of July as some significant date in our black history as it relates to our acquired personal freedoms in this country. Yes, the 4th of July was the date that the white land owning colonists sent a message to England's King George in the form of the Declaration of Independence that it would no longer be under the rule of Great Britain's rule of monarchy. Yet the message never was intended to include freedom for any of our descendants who were held in the cruel institution of slavery.
So, when America lights the skies with fireworks each 4th of July it portents Black Americans to think long and hard about celebrating a date in history that only prolonged our status in the chains of a harsh condition of enforced slavery. Even when America formally won its independence from Great Britain after Yorktown slaves ships were still arriving on American shores filled with our ancestors. Each of the ancestors came to these shores with little or no hope of freedom. They were simply recognized as chattel property. Each faced a lifetime filled with the horrors that accompanied the immorality of American slavery. So, why do Black Americans celebrate the 4th of July? Didn't ancestor Frederick Douglass detail specifically that this celebration had no meaning to our ancestors?
The year of independence for Black Americans was supposed to have been finalized in 1870 when our male ancestors were given the right to vote by the 15th Amendment. This amendment followed the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments that abolished slavery and gave all of our black ancestors the rights of citizenship and due process under the law. Yet America's callous history towards our black ancestors proved that paper laws never meant real black independence. Although, our black ancestors were always first in war sacrificing black blood for America's liberties. The true reciprocation of democracy by many whites towards our black ancestors was ignored. It actually wasn't until the years 1964 and 1965 that America implemented protections for citizenship rights as well as the right for our black ancestors to vote. That was only 55 years ago. Many black Americans living today remember the struggles that ensued battling for those rights.
Yet those battles don't mean that we accept the 4th of July, 1776 as the date of symbolic freedom. For in doing that we dishonor the historical fact that true black independence in America had to wait for another almost two centuries. My ancestors struggled in this nation for fair and equal treatment. I continue to struggle in this nation even in 2019 for fair and equal treatment. So, until true equality is a commonplace occurrence for all black Americans. It will be difficult for me, personally to celebrate white America's day of independence. When America truly honors the losses experienced by our black ancestors in a form of reparations and national apologies. Then, just maybe the 4th of July will become a true national day of recognition. Until then, it is simply the 4th day in the month of July, nothing less, nothing more.