Tags Fourth of July
Tag: Fourth of July
It has been 83 hours since I last chewed on anything. I stand with all my brothers still on hunger strike inside the SHUs at Pelican Bay and Corcoran and on the mainlines in Centinela and Folsom and all other prisoners throughout California and the nation in solidarity with the hunger strike.
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.
This June 19, millions of Americans, particularly African Americans, will celebrate Juneteenth. Yet slavery’s abolishment, under the 13th Amendment, didn’t really end slavery, as many people believe. The 13th Amendment merely codified America’s “peculiar institution” under penal statutes.
On July 5, 1852, the great orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglas delivered an electrifying speech where he posed what was possibly the most significant question of his time; “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” He received a thunderous round of applause. Today I still ask, Why do Black folks feel obligated to dress up in red, white and blue top hats and sing the Star Spangled Banner to commemorate a day when our ancestors were picking tobacco in the hot Carolina sun?
This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhumane mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel in your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!