ABC10 in Sacramento, CA reports The Declaration announced the freedom of the 13 North American colonies from Great Britain. The founding document of the United States explained “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” But, in 1776, the newly independent nation, free from British control, still held hundreds of thousands of Black people in captivity.
“The Declaration of Independence is probably the most hypocritical document,” said Dr. Rick Warren, President and Founder of the Black Expo and RW Media Enterprises. “At one point, they’re declaring freedom and, at another point, they’re enslaving people. It’s an interesting dichotomy. So many Black people in America have always had an interesting view on the Fourth of July. In our culture, it’s become one of those holidays used more as a family get together. It’s an opportunity for us to come together rather than a celebration of freedom.”
On July 5th, 1852, abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave a significant keynote address at an event in Rochester, New York commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In his speech, Douglass acknowledged the Founding Fathers of America, the architects of the Declaration of Independence, as “brave men” for their commitment to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“The Fourth of July is a national holiday to celebrate this country’s freedom from Britain,” said Rory Kaufman, Chair of the Black American Political Association of California, Sacramento Chapter. “But, Black people were never free or equal. We were still Three-Fifths in the Constitution of the United States. We were not considered whole.”