Category: what to the slave is the fourth of july?

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The “True” American History?: Part I

Speaking at the White House Conference on American History, Trump stated, “On this very day in 1787, our Founding Fathers signed the Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It was the fulfillment of a thousand years of Western civilization.” In this statement, and throughout the entire event, speakers railed against the the destruction of the “true” history of America’s founding and growth. They spoke … Read More The “True” American History?: Part I

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Frederick Douglass’ Rhetorical Rebuttals of Stereotypes

Over the past couple of semesters, I have taught Frederick Douglass’ What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? instead of teaching his narrative. I do this for a couple of reasons. One, I assign Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, and during discussions about Northup, I bring in Douglass’ narrative and Harriett Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl because … Read More Frederick Douglass’ Rhetorical Rebuttals of Stereotypes

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Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and How We Need to Think About the Past

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a speech entitled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Last week, I wrote about a small section of this speech, and today I want to expand that discussion some more, looking at what Douglass says about what we should do, or shouldn’t do, with the past. The entire speech, of course, focuses on America’s … Read More Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and How We Need to Think About the Past