Things We Saw Today: The Descendants of Frederick Douglass Read His ‘Fourth of July’ Speech
Plus My Little Pony, Hamilton, and more!
As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, we are reminded now more than ever our country’s declaration of freedom was some of us, not all of us. In this short film, five young descendants of famed abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass read excerpts of his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”.
His descendants, Douglass Washington Morris II, 20, Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner, 15, Zoë Douglass Skinner, 12, Alexa Anne Watson, 19 and Haley Rose Watson, 17 read the speech that Douglass read on July 5, 1852 at an Independence Day celebration, where he discussed the pain and the hypocrisy of the founding fathers’ ideals.
“What, to the American slave, is your Fourth 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.”
After the reading, the descendants discussed the meaning of the speech and its continued relevancy. Douglass Washington Morris II said, “This speech was written almost 170 years ago, but this part of it is still extremely relevant, especially with today’s protests.”
It’s a powerful video to watch, and a potent reminder that history is constantly unfolding all around us. And while we suffer struggles and setbacks, the arc continues to bend towards justice. Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner phrased it best in saying, “I think in many ways we are still slaves to the notion that it will never get better, but I think that there is hope and I think that it’s important that we celebrate Black joy and Black life and we remember that change is possible, change is probable and that there’s hope.”
(via NPR, image: screengrab/NPR)
- Fortnite is hosting a Black Lives Matter discussion with Jemele Hill and Van Jones. (via Polygon)
- Sorry spin-off fans. The CW has canceled Katy Keene. (via AVClub)
- Ghostbusters meets My Little Pony? Whelp, shut up and take my money I guess. (via Nerdist)
- Get two Seth Rogens for the price of one (HBO Max subscription) in An American Pickle:
- Here’s a list of the best one hit wonders on Netflix right now. (via Collider)
- Check out this art from the abandoned Hamilton graphic novel. (via CBR)
- It’s been 10 years since Inception and that damn top is still spinning. (via io9)
This holiday weekend, let’s be safe and smart. It’s going to take all of us to beat this virus. So wear a mask. Wash your hands. And listen to the experts, not the folks trying to divide us. That's the only way we’ll do this—together.https://t.co/UwNKAzL8JU
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 3, 2020
Wishing you a safe and socially distant Independence Day, Mary Suevians!
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]