“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us (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.” –Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852.
CAPTION: An Oratory of “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” given in 1852 by Frederick Douglass as read by Ossie Davis. (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Released on: 2009-06-30, provided to YouTube)
The newly established English named the continent America. They were in the process of celebrating their 76th year of freedom from Great Britain, after signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. At that time, the decree of freedom from colonial rule was not extended to slaves.
The Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society wanted Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist and former slave, to speak at their July 4th, 1852, event. Douglass accepted the invitation but would not speak at an Independence Day celebration.
Douglass honored the invitation by delivering his message on July 5th, 1852, the next day.
It is reported that Douglass spoke to an estimated 600 free, white people in Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. It took Douglass a mere three weeks to pen the 3,376 words over time, was titled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July.”
Many historians consider it to be the sdfsdfsf. “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” can be read in its entirety here, Frederick Douglass’ speech on July 5, 1852; or listened to as read by freedom fighter and famed actor Ossie Davis (19xx-20xx) on the YouTube link provided above.
The Frederick Douglass Monument was installed in Rochester, New York in 1899. The statue was commissioned by African-American activist John W. Thompson and sculpted by Sidney W. Edwards. It is recognized as the first statue in the United States to memorialize a specific African-American person, according to Visualising Slavery: ArtAcross the African Diaspora.
Over its existence, the statue has been moved many times. The last time was in 2019 when the statue was moved to be the centerpiece in the Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza, which is near the last residence of Douglass.
In the wake of the 2020 protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, MN, the statue of Douglass was torn down on July 5, 2020, the 168th anniversary of his speech. The head of the organization responsible for the memorial speculated it was vandalized in response to the removal of Confederate monuments.