The 4th of July

Just in time for the Independence Day weekend:

“The arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties being with one mind resolved to die free rather than live slaves.–Thomas Jefferson

My son is at least the 7th generation of my family to live in this country. We have pictures and other documents to prove it. However surprising it may be, I am one of the most patriotic black Americans you’ll ever hope to meet. Deep down, I’ve always wanted to join the military, but everyone I love and respect has told me not to do it–even some vets.

So I love this country, and I can’t just read Thomas Jefferson’s words without remembering that he was a big time slave holder. He, who would rather be dead than a slave, enslaved Africans. Alas, he, like most Enlightment thinkers, didn’t consider blacks to really be human.

If they didn’t see us as people, what does that say about them for sleeping with us?

Admittedly, that was a long time ago, and Jefferson and the rest did a lot of great things, too. But before you pop those fireworks this year or next, remember the words of Frederick Douglass in “The Meaning of the 4th of July for the Negro.”

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One response to “The 4th of July

  1. Pingback: Veterans Day Reflection « How I Got Over

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