Fredrick Douglas’s Fourth-of-July Speech Still Reminds Blacks of America’s Inequalities


After escaping slavery in Maryland, Frederick Douglass became the nation’s most recognized critic of African-American oppression and servitude.

His 1852 speech to a large group of New York abolitionists continues to serve as a reminder to many African Americans that the Fourth of July, though a day of celebration for white Americans, is still a day of morning for those who live with the post traumatic stress of slavery and the reminder of the unfulfilled promise of equal liberty for all in the Declaration of Independence.

“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” is a classic American speech.  Read it in its entirety at

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”