Here’s a prediction: The Washington Redskins will never play another game in the National Football League. I feel more confident about that than I do about there ever being another season for the National Football League.
Dan Snyder, the owner of Washington’s football team, and possibly the worst owner in the league, has resisted even considering changing the name. And let’s not quibble on this fact: The name “Redskins” is racist. If you don’t believe that, then walk up to a Native American and say, “How, Redskin.”
People generally hate change, especially in tradition. It’s not always racist when someone resists changing the name of their favorite football team. People feel like they own a part of their team. I’d hate it if my team, the New Orleans Saints, had to change their name…or the Chicago Cubs. It’s bad enough rooting for a team owned by a Trump supporter, but…
I must confess I wasn’t aware of this historical fact and least of all who Frederick Douglass was. I think that the emphasis in my history classes was placed on other topics. It’s as an adult that I’m learning so much about so many things.
In view of the current times that we are collectively experiencing, I think this is the most appropriate subject I want to post about on this July 4th, “America’s birthday” … the Birth of A Nation.
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an Independence Day celebration and asked, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Douglass was a powerful orator, often traveling six months out of the year to give lectures on abolition. His speech was delivered at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. It was a scathing speech in which Douglass stated,
“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine, You may rejoice, I must mourn.”
In his speech, Douglass acknowledged the Founding Fathers of America, the architects of the Declaration of Independence, for their commitment to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”:
“I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.”
Frederick Douglass’ Descendants Deliver His ‘Fourth Of July’ Speech
The U.S. celebrates this Independence Day amid nationwide protests and calls for systemic reforms.
In this short film, five young descendants of Frederick Douglass read and respond to excerpts of his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” which asks all of us to consider America’s long history of denying equal rights to Black Americans.
This video was inspired by Jennifer Crandall’s documentary project “Whitman, Alabama“.
A text version of the full speech is available here.
~~Published July 3, 2020~~
The U.S. celebrates this Independence Day amid nationwide protests and calls for systemic reforms. In this short film, five young descendants of Frederick Douglass read and respond to excerpts of his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” which asks all of us to consider America’s long history of denying equal rights to Black Americans.
FEATURING (alphabetically) Douglass Washington Morris II, 20 (he/him) Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner, 15 (they/their) Zoë Douglass Skinner, 12 (she/her) Alexa Anne Watson, 19 (she/her) Haley Rose Watson, 17 (she/her).
How the Mighty has fallen indeed!! … “America is sick. While the rest of the world is in recovery, we seem to be on a prolonged stay in the ICU. It didn’t have to be this way. But people dying, jobs lost, people in masks and cities on fire seem a fitting end to an otherwise horrific presidency.”
A little over a week ago, my wife and I made a choice. We decided to travel back to our home state of Ohio. We knew it was a risk. We knew we’d be leaving ourselves vulnerable, riding around on planes and through airports—hoping for the best outcome. So far, so good.
We did everything we could to avoid contracting Covid. We wore our masks, washed our hands often, and tried to physically distance as best we could, especially from some of our most vulnerable family members. Luckily, everyone on the plane was required to wear a mask, as was everyone in and around the airport. I felt somewhat safe because of the compliance, which was close to 100%. We won’t know for sure for another two weeks whether we’re in the clear.
That said, I couldn’t help but think how surreal the whole ordeal was. Never in a million…