NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday August 4th 2020

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Beyond the 4th of July

Raise Your Voice

By Peter Molenaar

The 15th of every month is “alley time” for those who submit articles, yet the fire crackers persist late into the night… disturbing little children and disrupting the sleep of workers.

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”  is the title now given to a speech by Frederick Douglass, delivered July 5th, 1852. Has the image of Frederick Douglass been embedded in every mind?

Wielding the stature of a George Floyd, Douglass’ Native-American facial bone structure shown prominently through his African-American complexion. Having escaped the illiteracy of an enslaved childhood, he rose to become an eloquent orator and esteemed author of the day. Naturally, Wendell Phillips, our neighborhood namesake, was a friend of his.

Sample some of Frederick’s words:

Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?… What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim… You profess to believe that, of one blood, God made all nations… and hath commanded all men everywhere to love one another, yet you notoriously hate (and glory in your hatred) all men whose skins are not colored like your own.

In extreme opposition to Douglass, was a confederate general named Henry Lewis Benning, evidently history’s most fanatical proponent of the lash. Fort Benning is named for this guy. In addition, nine more U.S.A. military installations are named for leaders of white-supremacy.

Enter the New World, please…

In response to the recent international outrage, our military leaders have proposed to delete all such designations. Incredibly, in order to satisfy his base of “under-educated people,” Trump will endeavor to block the renaming process. In addition, the one called “Little-Boy-Man” has proposed 10 year prison terms for the destruction of statuary memorials to oppression.

Congress must act! All such monuments to treason must be relegated to museums. A placard designating SHAME must be attached to every one of them.

Sadly, to date, two marvelous statuary renderings of Douglass have been vandalized by racist activists. Neighbors, stay strong. The face of Frederick Douglass will never be erased. Eventually, every school child will come to know this truth.

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