“The 4th of July has always been a sham. Always.” – Shaun King, Black activist. The context of Mr. King’s point is to convey to his followers that America is unjust and evil—from the beginning!
To prove his assertion, Mr. King cites a paragraph from Frederick Douglass’ speech on July 5th, 1852:
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross
injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your
celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your
national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are
empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted
impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery;
your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all
your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast,
fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up
crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a
nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody,
than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”
Wow!!! These are certainly some scathing words!! So…what gives? Is Mr. King correct about July 4th? Is freedom for Blacks in America really a sham?!?!
To begin, always remember liberalism has an agenda. Because of their rejection of God and His word (Rom1:18), they often misrepresent truth.* For example, the liberal Mr. King conveniently cites ‘one’ paragraph from the entire Douglass speech!! On the other hand, if we really want to understand Mr. Douglass’ July 5th words, it is better to review the entire speech; along with his life, and the time he spoke.
First, in this very same July 5th speech Mr. Douglass declares:
--“the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT (emphasis his, not mine). Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? It is neither.”
Furthermore, regarding the Founding Fathers, Mr. Douglass declares,
--“illustrious Fathers of this Republic”
--“Your fathers were wise men”’.
--“Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too — great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men.”
Mr. Douglass continues:
--“The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history.”
--On America’s freedom, Mr. Douglass declares, “the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of the national superstructure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.”
--“Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope.”
Let’s be totally honest…do these words sound like a man who agrees with Shaun King’s assessment of America: “The 4th of July has always been a sham. Always”?!?
What then was happening with Mr. Douglass’ scathing remarks? First and foremost, Frederick Douglass was a man of God, a prophet, a preacher, called by God to America! Like the prophet Nathan with King David(2Sam12), or John the Baptist with Herod(Mk6:18), he did not mince words at sin! Furthermore, it is most interesting that the people of this July 5th gathering even invited an ‘ABOLITIONIST’ to speak about July 4th!!! With their divisive reputations, and fiery personalities; and especially Frederick Douglass’ incredible presence, intellect, and oratory skills, they had to have known they were not in for a nice, pretty July 4th celebration!!!
Furthermore, in this same July 5th speech, Mr. Douglass referred to the Fugitive Slave Law. A law which passed two years earlier in 1850, in the context of California’s desire to enter the union as a “free” state. In response to the great opposition of the south, the government created: “The Great Compromise”! The compromise granted statehood to California in exchange for the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law. This demonic regulation made it lawful for any Black in America to be grabbed by slave catchers and returned to slavery! This treachery was already happening illegally as evidenced by the case of Solomon Northrup, in ‘Twelve Years a Slave’. But now, the Fugitive Slave Law codified this kind of behavior all across the nation! As a consequence of the Fugitive Slave Law, slavery was now being re-introduced into the north!!
Frederick Douglass, and the abolitionists, had been working diligently for over two decades to end slavery…and had seen positive movement. Yet, through this one act, any and all past progress was completely obliterated!! What’s my point? Rightfully so…Frederick Douglass was angry…with righteous indignation!!! The July 5th speaking engagement--although constructive—was a perfect opportunity for Mr. Douglass to vent his inimitable wit!
In conclusion, Mr. Douglass did not think America’s July 4th freedom was a sham--even for Blacks…who were still enslaved!!! I mean, he later sent two of his sons to fight in the Civil war! How dumb would he be to send his own sons to fight for an American freedom he believed was a sham?!?!
Unlike liberalism, which rejects God’s sovereignty and purposes; Mr. Douglass’ very life and work revealed that he fully understood God’s purpose for America was to be a beacon of light for ‘freedom’…for the world!! Yet, like a dog returns to its vomit, and swine to mud(2Pet2:22), because he saw America returning to its slavery past, on July 5th 1852, the eternal God, tapped Mr. Douglass’ who stood and gave a prophetic word, calling America back to His great purposes!!
Contrary to Mr. Shaun King and liberalism, because of America’s freedom, no group or race of people, has risen from slavery to prominence, in such a short time as African-Americans…in the history of the world!!
I am proud to be an American!
*To get the context of Mr. Douglass’s entire speech, rather than just this one paragraph, please read it or listen to it on youtube.