by Kennedy J. Johnson
The Black Kid & The Fourth of July
Some may wonder why Black folks aren't as excited about the Fourth as our counterpart, and the reason is because we really don't have a reason to be 🤷🏾♀️.
On July 4, 1776, people of the African diaspora were still enslaved and unable to experience the liberty that came with the United States declaring their independence. As most things in this country, this day of celebration was not created with Black people in mind and is consequently not ours to celebrate.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
When thinking of the condition of Black people, this opening statement holds a great deal of contradiction - then and now. Black people have not and are not treated equally and are therefore not able to experience the alleged freedom granted to all Americans. In his infamous speech, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?, Frederick Douglass questions if the freedoms expressed in the Declaration of Independence are also extended to the Black American. MIND YOU, this speech was given in 1852, prior to the Emancipation Proclamation and before the remaining enslaved Africans were notified of their freedom in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865; meaning, that legally and literally Black people were not free! Which also means that the Declaration of Independence was intended to exclude the very people who worked to establish the freedom that so many others experience.
I must ask you, Black kid, do you feel that the freedoms proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence are also granted to you? Do you feel that you have access to life? To liberty? And the full pursuit of happiness? What has caused you to feel that way? I don't want to assume your response but I do believe that any answer you provide to the previous questions can be connected to a systemic and endemic issue that was created at the conception of this country.
We, at For The Black Kid, Inc., hold these truths to be systemically evident that all people are created equal but are not treated equally. That their unalienable rights are actively being stripped, and among those are Black life, Black liberty, and the pursuit of Black happiness; to secure these rights, we must establish and declare our independence.
Let us not be passive in establishing our independence, but instead take a front seat to build systems that truly allow us to experience freedom.