Born a slave in 1818 in Talbot County Maryland — not far from the City of Baltimore — 42 years after the 13 British colonies became the United Sates of America, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey served as a servant and laborer. He was taught to read by his slave owner’s wife.
After escaping involuntary bondage, he was forced to leave the United States of America — land of the free and brave — which we attempt, in unexplained exuberance to honestly celebrate this Fourth of July weekend. Escaping slave hunters — also known as the Slave Police — he was forced to flee to England and Scotland. Able to have his freedom purchased by English admirers – the irony of human property being so evident – he returned to the land of the free and the brave.
Changing his name to Frederick Douglas, he became a prolific writer, author, publisher, and lecturer for the Anti-Slavery Society.
So we gather this Fourth of July, once again, to celebrate the 13 colonies' abdication of British rule, authority, and tyranny on the grounds of freedom and liberty for all.
How does a society grapple with certain undeniable historical truths —that certain people of this land are denied these same freedoms, liberties and treatment, and are expected to blindly celebrate something that continues to elude us on a daily basis as a people and human beings?
I choose, as did Frederick Douglas, not to be a mocked by these dishonest proceedings and gross hypocrisy.
I lend my thoughts; feelings and beliefs of the Fourth of July to the agonizing words of Frederick Douglas delivered in Rochester, New York, on July 5, 1852 in his speech "The Meaning of the July Fourth for the Negro" on this most illustrious of national hypocritical celebration.