Let's celebrate the Fourth of July! What a coincidence, it's also the fourth day of the 30-Day Writing Challenge.

For Independence Day 2020, I wanted to find a news story that wasn’t about homes being set ablaze by fireworks. 

I could write about the most recent police killings or the latest Karen incident. 

However, in good holiday spirit I’ve chosen this article by Katherine Franke of the New York Daily News.

“Reimagine Independence Day for an anti-racist era”

The article begins with Frederick Douglass (the abolitionist and writer) giving his “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” speech. 

It was refreshing to see, because the Fourth of July is more about fireworks than freedom. 

Let’s be honest with each other. You know that most people celebrate by eating hot dogs, shopping sales, and watching the fireworks. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone spent the day learning American history? 

You know, how “all men are created equal”, didn’t apply to women or people of color. 

Many want to live in a fantasy world were Abraham Lincoln ended slavery and (poof) racism ended. It’s disgusting. It’s not cute to be ignorant. 

The enslaved were not freed with the end of the Civil War. 

My ancestors had their histories, their cultures, their traditions, and their freedoms taken from them for hundreds of years. 

Then, all of a sudden they were supposedly free? According to who? 

We’ve all heard of “40 acres and a mule”, not that we went over it in great detail in school. 

The formerly enslaved were promised land to start over and try to make better lives for themselves. 

But, it was taken away from them. The land went to the former slave owners. 

The land that my ancestors cared for didn’t belong to them. 

Though they were no longer property, they were still treated as such. Have you heard of sharecropping? Of course you haven’t. 

Well, this was essentially neo-slavery. With no resources to support themselves they had to “work” for the plantation owners once again.

Knowing that the town of Vicksburg, MO didn’t celebrate the holiday until 1945 made me smile. 

Though, the 47-day siege on their town (by the Union) seems to be the most likely reason. 

I used to enjoy watching the fireworks every summer. 

I’ve always hated hearing them, like I do right now; even though it’s past midnight. 

Maybe next year people will realize that no one’s free until we’re all free.  

Make sure to check out my previous post on this month’s 30-Day Writing Challenge!

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