Happy 4th of July — Frederick Douglass speech, as read by James Earl Jones

I am proud to be an American.

It doesn’t mean I like everything my nation has done or does.  It means I maintain hope that we can do better.

Frederick Douglass is one of the most eloquent, articulate writers I’ve come across.  His autobiography needs to be required reading in every school’s curriculum.  To read this book and then to reconcile it with how maliciously and meticulously maligned blacks have been portrayed and treated over the years would bring such dissonance to a young person’s mind the spell of institutionalized racism would be neutralized.

I weep at the thought of all that has come before.  Please, let’s do better  — NOW and from now on.

from the youtube notes:

On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, [Frederick Douglass] gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.”

 

Update:  I found this very stirring youtube of the descendants of Mr. Douglass reading the speech:

29 Comments Add yours

  1. I love the sound of James Earl Jones’ voice and I am so glad that I was never a slave. Yes we must do better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read some of Frederick Douglas. Good man.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The only thing is, it was years ago, so I’m gonna have to refresh myself on Wikipedia. I know back in the day I read some Marcus Garvey too, people who actually advocated separation by going back to Africa. I can see why people thought like that but it was never a view I held myself.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I can imagine there would be many who would say enough of this bs I want to be treated like a human being, at least back then. Now we are all Americans, so am guessing not many feel that way today. I’m part Irish, English, and German but American first.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. i was surprised to learn he affiliated with the Republican Party. How times have changed…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          They’re all a bunch of crooks these days. Our one decent choice, Bernie Sanders, was cheated by the democrats again. Now we have a choice between a monster and a dementia ditz (nothing against anyone with dementia, but not for president!)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think I agree, but I wouldn’t really be so bold enough to comment. From this distance, I’d have put Sanders over Biden, too. In the UK, we drow up thinking that the US just has two right-wing parties and I don’t think that’s a bad approximation. I’ve got a post part-prepared on this, what I think is the path back into power.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              Looking forward to reading it, Mr. Bump UK!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Jen Goldie says:

    Brilliant post Li! If only…😌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Jen. Every day hope springs anew.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jen Goldie says:

        I hope so! ❤👍

        Liked by 1 person

  4. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    Martin Luther King Jr wanted equality…no more no less and that to me is the most important thing…not to see color but a person.

    I could hear Jones read anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Did you know he comes from MI? He has an interesting life story. Check out his childhood story sometime.

      Like

    2. msjadeli says:

      Oh man, I was wrong, James Earl Jones was not born in MI! I will try to find the story I read on him and post the link.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        Ok cool…he voice is pure gold!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Yes, it is.
          He moved to MI to live with his grandparents at age 5. From the day he entered school and until he got to high school his stutter caused him to stop speaking. He did not speak from kindergarten and until he got to high school!!!!!! I need to see if he’s written an autobiography. I would love to read it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

            That would be a cool book….The only thing I know about him is he was going to turn down Star Wars until his wife stepped in.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              LMAO. Btw, Happy Anniversary!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

                Thank you!

                Liked by 1 person

            2. msjadeli says:

              “Voices and Silences,” written in 1994. I’ve got it in my wish list.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

                I’ll look for it on my Amazon list

                Liked by 1 person

  5. Pradeep says:

    More than celebrations, there are challenges on various fronts this July 4. I am sure it will emerge stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy 4th, Li! We need hope now, more than ever! Thanks for the videos shared and an excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You are very welcome, Punam.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. pvcann says:

    Thank you for this Lisa, glad to have seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You are welcome, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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