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What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?

On this day, the day after the US Independence Day, it is good to listen to words that were spoken by the great Frederick Douglass on July 5, 1852, less than a decade before the start of the Civil War. In this video from NPR, excerpts of his speech are read by 5 of his young descendants, and at the end, are also interpreted by them.

Here is a transcript of the original speech.



  1. Dan wrote:

    From the first draft of the Declaration of Independence: “he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”

    South Carolina and Georgia shot it down

    Sunday, July 5, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    This is so lovely. They even can speak, unlike a man who lives in a big white house behind walls he had constructed.

    Monday, July 6, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink