Everyone on the WiL team wishes you had a phenomenal 4th of July! We all hope you were able to spend the holiday with the most important people in your life, whether it be friends or family, in a socially distant manner (or even virtually). Take this moment to be especially thankful for the relationships you do have given the extended period of quarantine we have survived through and the current social distancing protocols for the safety of the greater good.
The 4th of July is a celebration of the independence and liberation from England. Let’s not forget, the rights and liberties experienced in America is a luxury that is not protected in every nation of the world. Take a moment to remember and be thankful for the freedoms America’s founding pioneers fought for.
On the other hand, one should also recognize what this holiday represented for the American slave population: a solidification of systems of injustice. Frederick Douglass discussed in his 4th of July address that to the American slave, this holiday only represented the hypocrisy of granting the freedoms and liberties to half the population and not the slave half. As a result, it has been a glaring reminder of the difference in rights of the slave and the citizen. Douglass demands that the national consciousness must be awoken to the grave disparity in treatment between the slave and non-slave populations.
As with many things, the 4th is a holiday with various shades of meanings, each with equal significance. Those who fought for independence may not have done so with neither the aim of creating racial injustices nor hypocritical ideals, whereby only some were free. Thus, it is important to honor both what the 4th meant to the non-slave population to whom freedom was honored as well as to the slaves to whom freedom was historically denied.
If you are interested in Douglass’ 4th of July speech, you can listen to an abridged version below!