The 4th of You Lie: An EnDepenDance and Be Truly Free Poem

by Paradise Free Jahlove

Frederick-Douglass-color-painting-c.-1984-by-Robert-Templeton, The 4th of You Lie: An EnDepenDance and Be Truly Free Poem, Culture Currents Invariably around this time of the year, the Fourth of July, you’re likely to hear somebody talking about how great this country is. And it is, but so was the Third Reich. Being large don’t necessarily make you right. You might even hear a few homegrown Africans declare: “America is the free-est country in the world!” As if America, first of all, was or is a country, instead of a continent. Nevertheless, this is a two-part poem talking about the Fourth of July and how free we are … and could possibly be.

Remember a dozen or so years ago when they were first trying to put the California Lottery into effect? When they promised that the economy and the schools would benefit? Well, actually, every time they have a lottery it’s like the poor collectively paying the rich $500 million to get back $1 million. It’s like a band of merchant men and Reverse Robin Hoods robbin’ da hood! And I guess the schools will benefit on … the Fourth of You Lie!

And the government and FEMA will bring the still sorely needed Hurricane Relief to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on the Fourth of You Lie!

And plastic and other oil based products and drilling and spilling oil in the Gulf will end and stop being a hazard to the planet on the Fourth of You Lie!

And they will find weapons of mass destruction somewhere in that other Gulf Coast on the Fourth of You Lie!

And I support the troops, but not blood for oil, because it looks like Uncle Sam will give a damn about our boys and bring ’em home on the 4th of U Lie!

And America will love America and spend another trillion dollars not on wars or building more prisons, but on building schools and a universal health care system, community and racial harmony and equality on the Fourth of You Lie!

And the corporate owned news media (the best news that money can buy!) will give us the full scoop and the real news on the 4th of U Lie!

Just like the American history books will tell the true story on the 4th of U Lie!

And we will all be free … free like me, who was free enuf to write this poem, but not as free as I want to be, not as free as I’m gonna be … Free! Afreeka … A-free-ka … Afrika … Africa … be free!

© Paradise is president of the International Black Writers & Artists Local 5 in Oakland and was recently honored by the City of Oakland with “Paradise Day,” on Oct. 6! He may be reached at Paradise also facilitates the Buy Black Wednesdays Facebook page and group, hosts the Black Wednesday Show every Wednesday at 6 p.m. on and blogs at

What to the slave is your Fourth of July?

In his earthshaking Independence Day address in 1852, Frederick Douglass shocked the audience when he said, “There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.” Ten years later, President Lincoln announced he would issue an Emancipation Proclamation, which he signed Jan. 1, 1863. Read major excerpts from this speech that speeded freedom at What to the slave is your Fourth of July?