It is the 4th of July and considered the birth of our nation. So does this then mean that this is also the death of the Native American nation? I always wonder what exactly about this day do I or other blacks have to celebrate. We weren’t even considered full human beings on this day in 1776. In fact most of the celebrations that take place on this day are referred to as freedom festivals. While white people were celebrating their freedom they were hell bent on denying this same right to not only the blacks but the Native Americans from which this land was taken to begin with.
I must admit that my family use to celebrate with Bar B Q and a picnic and a ton of fireworks. But, the problem I have with this now is that my parents just like many other black Americans today, don’t think one bit about the holiday. What this holiday means or what it is all about. Now of course I will get the tired old comments about us all being American and that this is a celebration of our great country etc. Yet, how many of you can tell me what is so great about a time in history where my ancestors were undoubtedly considered non human beasts of burden by a bunch of racists. These racists gobbled up a nation from a once great people and wrote a declaration of independence speaking of freedoms that they wholeheartedly denied my people in no uncertain terms.
I am sure that this offends people, it should and it offends me that I am looked at as being unpatriotic because I dare to question the validity of this holiday for me and people like me. When in fact this holiday is not for me or other blacks and was never meant to be for us. At the time of our forefathers they would have guffawed and snorted had they been told that blacks would be participating in the festivities and not as servants. Frederick Douglass said about this day “This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the Fourth of July. It is the birth day of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, as what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day.”
And I will leave you with Douglass’s words on what the 4th of July is to a nation of slaves. “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 him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”
Hopefully you will all think on these words and ask yourself what does this day mean to the descendants of slaves.