Symbols of Freedom
Every memorial or symbol of the white nation’s triumph becomes the occasion that sparks the fire of dangerous memory. Statesman Frederick Douglass, a former slave, gave a speech commemorating American’s day of freedom and independence on the Fourth of July, 1852.
What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebrations 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 of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloddy than are the people of these United States at this very hour.
Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 178