A recent conversation with doctoral student, Natalie Bradford, who is re-reading Frederick Douglass' seminal speech, "The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro", prompts this blogpost. Douglass delivered the speech on July 5, 1852 at a celebration of the Fourth of July hosted by the Rochester (New York) Ladies' Anti-slavery Society. Imagine the courage it took to deliver the speech as he did through the prism of the African American experience, which is the experience of being a perpetual, intimate witness to both the beautiful ideals of the American project and the utter hypocrisy with which it is implemented. The speech remains instructive in 2018 as stark departures from those ideals now characterize the national landscape: persistent white supremacy, overt anti-black and other forms of racism, nativism and anti-immigrant hostility, exploitation of/extraction from Native lands, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, racialized mass incarceration, and a myriad of practices and policies buttressing economic inequality.
Re-visiting this speech on the Fourth of July is a way to honor Douglass' work by learning from it. Below are two excerpted readings of it; the second one is a brief excerpt for those seeking a shorter version that captures the spirit of the full one.
- National Archives via the United States National Archives (@USNatArchives)
- James Earl Jones via Democracy Now (@DemocracyNow)
It is impossible to celebrate Mother’s Day without reflecting on the stark racial/ethnic inequities in maternal mortality that persist in 2018 in the United States. Why do stark racial/ethnic inequities in maternal mortality persist in the United States? A growing body of evidence suggests racism drives the inequities in at least two ways.
Two faced? This question of expressing one view in one space, yet turning around and expressing an opposite view on the same subject in another space remains at the core of the legacy and currency of distrust and suspicion in racial and gendered spaces. The question of trust across identity spaces, whether racial, gender or global, is particularly most revealing and yet pivotal in leadership.