Frederick Douglass: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?"
“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.”
A parking lot and this Frederick Douglass statue now sit where Corinthian Hall once stood. The hall, which burned down in 1898, was the site of the now famous 'What is the Fourth of July to the Slave’ speech by Douglass. According to historical accounts, “on July 5, 1852, at least 500 people poured into the hall where Douglass gave a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was biting oratory, in which the speaker told his audience, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn ..."
I’d like to imagine his vantage point looking out on that sea of people as they looked back with him delivering the fiery speech — “to him (slave), your celebration is a sham ... There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”
Keywords: Frederick Douglass, Olivia Kim, Rochester, Rochester New York
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