A reminder on the 4th of July

By: Emma Johnson

The 4th of July is a day to celebrate freedom and independence from the United Kingdom. It remembers the ratification of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the United States. This day often brings up feelings of national pride and thankfulness for the freedom that is supposed to come with it. 

However, many Americans do not feel this way on the 4th of July. America has been a country of freedom for a select group of people for far too long. At its founding, America gave complete freedom to white, male landowners. It took years and endless battles to fight for those liberties to legally extend to all Americans. Even now, people live with the long-lasting effects of these liberties not being granted to them. For example, lots of people have not built up generational wealth because their ancestors were not allowed to work. Our own government is not fully representative of the American population due to these generational disadvantages. 

Fredrick Douglass gave a speech on July 5th, 1852 entitled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”. In this speech, he criticizes the way American ideals of independence only apply to White people. The speech is a reminder that we will never get to a point where we can celebrate the 4th of July without remorse because there have been Americans who died without freedom. What happened in our past is forever permanent; We cannot forget our history as we fight for a better nation.  

This 4th of July, try to remember that not every American can celebrate complete and total freedom. Let the 4th be a reminder to keep fighting for complete equality and hope that one day America lives up to its promise of being the Land of the Free.