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The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro: A Speech by Frederick Douglass 

Former slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, gives a scathing address about the true meaning of Independence Day to the negro.

 writes: No other phrase in the founding documents of the United States stings an African American as much as this one: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence was not a declaration for all but for some. “All men” did not include people of African descent. “Unalienable rights” were stripped from those who were taken from their homeland and forced into lifelong servitude. And “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” could not be pursued at the end of a chain.

The former slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, gave a speech on July 5, 1852 in Rochester, NY commemorating the day of independence for the United States. Cognizant of the contradictions embedded into the foundation of the United States, Douglass expounded for his audience the significance of “independence” day for black people. In it, he loses no respect for the founders of the nation calling them “statesmen, patriots, and heroes.” But he does not fail to point out the hypocrisy of declaring freedom from Britain’s control while subjugating an entire race of people.

Below are some excerpts from Douglass’ speech. His words remind us that for some Americans, independence ends with an asterisk.

Read the full text of the speech here.

“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.”

“This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.”

“My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Ohio State Suspect Abdul Razak Ali Artan Left Cryptic Facebook Message Before Attack

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Abdul Razak Ali Artan was killed by a police officer after the car-and-knife ambush.

—  Abdul Razak Ali Artan, on Facebook

Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, wrote on what appears to be his Facebook page that he had reached a “boiling point,” made a reference to “lone wolf attacks” and cited radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

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“America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah [community]. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” the post said.

Two hours before that, a cryptic post on the page said: “Forgive and forget. Love.”

Officials cautioned that they have not determined a motive for the ambush, which sent 11 people to the hospital Monday morning. A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that investigators are trying to determine whether Artan had personal problems or something else that might have pushed him over the edge.

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A photo of Abdul Razak Ali Artan that accompanied an interview in the OSU publication The Lantern. Kevin Stankiewicz / The Lantern

“He told a campus publication that on his first day at OSU, he was ‘kind of scared’ to pray in public.”

A police officer was on the scene within a minute and killed the assailant, likely saving lives, university officials said. “He engaged the suspect and eliminated the threat,” OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said.

Law enforcement officials told NBC News that Artan was a Somali refugee who left his homeland with his family in 2007, lived in Pakistan and then came to the United States in 2014 as a legal permanent resident.

[Read the full story here, at NBC News]

He lived briefly in a temporary shelter in Dallas before settling in Ohio, according to records maintained by Catholic Charities.

Artan attended Columbus State Community College for two years, graduating cum laude with an associate’s degree before moving on to Ohio State to continue his studies. He told a campus publication that on his first day at OSU, he was “kind of scared” to pray in public.

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“If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen.”

“If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen,” Artan was quoted as saying in the Lantern.

The violence unfolded just before 10 a.m. ET Monday near an academic hall on the Columbus, Ohio, campus, where 60,000 students are enrolled.

Officials said Artan drove onto campus by himself and rammed the car past the curb and into a crowd on the sidewalk. Read the rest of this entry »