What to Black People is the 4th of July?
By Salim Adofo (June 30, 2010)
On July 5, 1852, in a meeting sponsored by the anti-lynching society, Frederick
Douglass gave the speech "What to the slave is the 4th of July?" In
his speech, he illustrated the terrible conditions that Black people faced
living in America
during that time. He showed the contradiction of white America
celebrating freedom, but at the same time denying it to Black People.
During the time of Frederick Douglass, white America was enjoying the "good
life," and Black people were working from can't see in the morning to
can't see at night, in order to increase the wealth of those that enslaved
them. Africans in America
suffered from inadequate health care and quality education. They were the
victims of domestic terrorism, perpetrated on them by white supremacist gangs
that would lynch and burn them at the stake. Black people were not allowed to
engage in politics or own businesses, which would have helped Blacks gain
control of their communities and become self sufficient. Also, to legally
justify white supremacy, the Supreme Court of the United States, in what became known
as the Dred Scott Decision, stated that Black people
did not have any rights that a white person was bound to respect.
Now, over 150 years later, we must ask the question, "What to Black People
is the 4th of July?" Do Black people have a reason to celebrate the
freedom and independence of America?
In 2010, Blacks may no longer face "Jim Crow"; however, Blacks are
confronted with "James Crow II." Overt acts of white supremacy have
been replaced, in some cases, with INSTITUTIONALIZED WHITE SUPREMACY.
For example, in November of 2006 Sean Bell, an unarmed Black man, was shot 50
times on his wedding day by NYC police officers. He was shot for members of his
car allegedly having a weapon, which was never found. None of the police
officers have been convicted of criminal or civil charges. In December of 2009
Robbie Tolan, an unarmed Black man, was shot in his
chest by a white police officer for allegedly stealing a car. The car was not
stolen. The police officer was not convicted of any crime. In 1999,Law enforcement officials in the state of New Jersey have admitted to racial
profiling, which is a violation of ones civil and human rights. All of the
above stated incidents are still in line with and supported by the Supreme
Court of the United States
position that no Black Person, has any rights that a white person is bound to
In May of 2010, the Texas school board has
made it known that it seeks to eliminate slavery from its texts book as well
44th president of the US,
Barak Obama. If this
continues to happen Black children will not receive adequate information about
their history in America
and will continue to be mis-educated.
One could continue to list the atrocities that Africans in America are
forced to grapple with. However the point stands that Black people in America have no
reason to celebrate the 4th of July. Black people are less than 20 percent of
population but over 40 percent of the prison population. Blacks are still
people suffering political oppression, economic exploitation and social
degradation because of the white supremacist polices of the United States
government and institutions. The only difference between then and now is Black
people knew then who their enemy was.