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: