CultureSOUL: Frederick Douglass - Independence Day, 1852
"I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn."
"The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro"
As descendants of African American slaves, and in this post-12 YEARS era, we must be compelled to remember our history accurately. This means it is important to acknowledge the historical fact that ‘independence’ in 1776 did not come for black folks. Our freedom came nearly 100 years later.
The historical giant Frederick Douglass, as the most famous ‘free negro’ in America and the voice of the anti-slavery movement, was asked to speak to a white audience on this day in 1852. His speech (full text linked below) remains one of the most damning indictments of slavery and the hypocrisy of the holiday (at that time) that’s ever been recorded.
While he expressed deep respect for the founding fathers and their ideals, he then asked his nation, but why not for all? Douglass went on to deliver a blistering indictment and spoke of his anger at being asked to revere a country that continued to keep his brothers in chains. This powerful speech became one of his most famous and it serves to remind us of the towering legacy of Frederick Douglass and his righteous fight for his people and his country.
Full text of speech
Excerpts read by Morgan Freeman (Video)
- Frederick Douglass c. 1860s
- Slave family in Cotton field near Savannah, GA c. 1860 (courtesy of Corbis images)
James Earl Jones, a man with one of the most profound voices, reads excerpts from Frederick Douglass’ powerful and chilling speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”.
Happy Independence day to Somalia (East Africa/ Horn of Africa)
Celebrating 54 years of Independence (Union of the Trust Territory of Somalia (former Italian Somaliland) and State of Somaliland (former British Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic. Event annually commemorated on Independence Day.)
(1st July 1960)
Girls&WomenToKnow: Leanna Archer
Meet Lenna Archer, who started her Leanna Inc. a haircare line at This Long 9 years old. Leanna all nautral organic hair products has generated over $ $100,000 in revenue. Leana develops and mixes each of her products (the original hair dressing was based on a family formula), and tracks orders and customer correspondence. Her parents and two brothers assist in bookkeeping, packaging, and product testing. The company sells its shampoos, conditioners, shea butter, and other products both in stores and online.
Leanna is a philanthropist as well in 2008 she founded the Leanna Archer Education Foundation, an organization devoted to providing better opportunities for children in Haiti. Leanna’s goal is to built schools in Haiti, while providing a Safe learning environment for over 150 students.
Leanna as been featured in Forbes Magazine, Success Magazine, INC Magazine (30 under 30) and Ebony Magazine. Online web portal, AOL Black Voices, was also impressed with Leanna and positioned the Teen CEO as #5 on their list of “ Top 9 Young Lions” who are making Black History. Leanna has also been interviewed by several major media outlets, including NBC, MSNBC,ABC,FOX Business and BET.
DOCUMENTARY: “Kaffir Culture” by Kannan Arunasalam.
In some parts of the world, the word ‘kaffir’, an Arabic term meaning ‘infidel’, is or was used as a derogatory racially offensive term in reference to black people. Used during the Arab slave trade, the it was later adopted by various European communities, such as the Dutch and Portuguese, to refer to the Africans they kidnapped and enslaved.
Through the enslavement of black people from the African continent to other parts of the world, the word found its way to Sri Lanka where it was used to describe the descendents of Africans brought there by Portuguese enslavers and British colonists from around the 16th century. But where in South Africa the world still carries a negative connotation even amongst black people, Sri Lankan kaffirs use the term boldly as a descriptor and a way of acknowledging their East African roots and heritage.
In this short documentary, filmmaker Kannan Arunasalam tells the story of a small group of Sri Lankan kaffirs, many of whom are mixed, and their struggle to keep their culture alive as their community shrinks.
All Africa, All the time.
Frederick Douglas, declaimed in a lecture to the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1847 (via existenti-al)
The members of Arizona Critical Ethnic Studies are deeply concerned by a recent incident involving an Arizona State University (ASU) police officer and an ASU faculty member. We call for a swift and thorough investigation into this matter.
On the evening of May 21, 2014, Dr. Ersula Ore, a professor in the English department at ASU, was walking home from campus after teaching a summer course. Dr. Ore, who is African American, was stopped and questioned by a male ASU police officer patrolling the area in his vehicle. After a short exchange with the officer, a brief physical altercation ensued in which Dr. Ore, who was wearing a dress, was forced up against the officer’s car and then onto the ground, fully exposing portions of her lower body to the public. Eyewitness accounts of the incident, including video evidence, support Dr. Ore’s assertion that the officer did not clearly inform her regarding why she was being stopped or inform her of her rights, and engaged in excessive force during her detention. Despite these questionable circumstances, however, Dr. Ore has subsequently been charged with felony aggravated assault on the officer, among other charges.
We are troubled by the responses of the media, University, and ASU Police Department about this incident. Media versions have presented a sensationalized, one-sided story that differs substantially from Dr. Ore’s and eyewitness accounts. Officials at ASU, in response to questions about the incident and possible racial profiling, have sought to distance the University, stating that 1) because the incident occurred on a public street between parts of campus, it was technically “off campus,” so Dr. Ore was a private citizen; and 2) although they will comply with any investigation, there is no evidence of racial profiling. We find these responses insufficient. First, the officer involved was an ASU police officer and the University is responsible for the conduct of its employees, including its police force. Second, whether as a private citizen or as a member of the ASU community, Dr. Ore has the right to expect dignified and humane treatment by ASU’s police officers. ASU, as a public institution, has a responsibility to ensure this occurs. Third, ASU has not undertaken a thorough investigation into the matter, so how can officials claim that there is an absence of racial profiling? In a state and metropolitan region in which racial profiling has been proven to be widespread, the ASU administration’s lack of concern for the well-being of an ASU community member of color is unacceptable.
Given that the mission of the ASU Police Department is, “To enhance the quality of life by providing a safe and secure environment through professional and proactive law enforcement services in partnership with the University community,” this incident clearly warrants further inquiry from ASU. We ask the ASU administration to conduct a comprehensive investigation into this matter as well as an audit on the conduct of its police force vis-à-vis racial profiling. How can ASU ensure a safe, secure, and just environment for its faculty, students, and staff if it disclaims any responsibility for the actions of ASU police officers? The following questions should be starting points for its audit: In the ASU Police Department, what training is in place to ensure that its police officers are knowledgeable and well-trained to be in compliance with laws prohibiting racial profiling and excessive force? What monitoring systems exist to ensure accountability? How does the department respond to racial profiling complaints?
Dr. Ore, the ASU community, and the broader public deserve a full and just investigation into this incident.
Arizona Critical Ethnic Studies is a network of college and university educators and independent scholars throughout Arizona.
No black person is ever safe.
THIS is why black people can’t respect cops..they aren’t here to protect us…