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Who said: “What, to the American Slave, is your fourth of July?”

July 5th

220px-Frederick_Douglass_c1860sJuly 5, 1852 — Born a slave in 1817, Frederick Douglass and escaped to freedom in 1838, and spent the rest of his life fighting for slave rights.

Today, before the President of the United States, he delivered a oration at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall. He said:

“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 sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, 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.”

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Words of Wisdom

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.

— Frederick Douglass

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