MICHIGAN, July 4, 2012 – Each year, on the 4th of July, many Americans celebrate “Independence Day”. Independence Day. Independence Day dates back to the 18th century and American Revolution War.
In June 1776, representatives of the first 13 U.S. colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence.
Two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
Independence Day became a national holiday in 1941. Most Americans look forward to cookouts, fireworks, and gathering with family. However, to many Americans, Independence means little more than time off from work.
However, Black Americans are keenly aware that our ancestors were still slaves when the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Emancipation from slavery would not come for Blacks for another eighty-nine years. Hence, there is apathy towards the notion of celebrating “Independence” on a day that most Black Americans would agree did not apply to their ancestors.
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall. It was an indictment of the fact Independence was not yet a reality for most Black Americans. Douglass boldly declared: “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” And he asked them, “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?”
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