The 4th of July

Frederick Douglass 4th of July

In 1852, legendary abolistionist and former slave Frederick Douglass  was asked to give a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Known for his extraordinary oratory skills, that speech became one of his best known pieces and stands as a reminder that the 4th of July does not hold the same meaning for all Americans. (clockwise: Frederick Douglass, Malia Obama, Thomas Jefferson, Ron Kovic)

In the speech, Douglass  declares to his audience, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” He then asked them, “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?”

To read Frederick Douglass’ full speech click here

In writing this piece I spent time reflecting on my feelings of this day so honored in American history and I came to the same place I so often find myself when I look at this country’s history.  Yes, there continues to be much pain and injustice but there is also much to celebrate. Just look at the images above – Frederick Douglass who have his chilling speech on the 4th of July, Malia Obama America’s First Daughter also the descendent of slaves born on the 4th of July, Ron Kovic a veteran anti-war activist born on the 4th of July and Thomas Jefferson one of the founding father’s and signer of the Declaration of Independence but himself a slave owner and father of slaves died on the 4th of July.

So in wishing you all a safe and enjoyable 4th of July, I include a list of events that occurred on the 4th of July — reminders  of our past and present, and hope for our future. Enjoy the links and have a happy 4th of July

(to see attachment place your mouse on each icon)

1826: President John Adams died in Quincy, Massachusetts
1826: President Thomas Jefferson died in Monticello, Virginia
1831: President James Monroe was born in Richmond, Virginia
1872: President Calvin Coolidge was born in Plymouth, Vermont
1850: President Zachary Taylor took ill on the 4th of July and died on the 9th
1998: President and Mrs. Obama’s daughter Malia was born in Chicago, Illinois

1997: Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars
2005: Deep Impact intercepts comet
2006: STS-121 Launched


1852: Federick Douglass delivers impassioned speech
1946: Ron Kovic born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin

Published by the LA Progressive on July 4, 2010
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About Sharon Kyle

Sharon Kyle, J.D. is the Publisher of the LA Progressive which she co-founded with her husband Dick Price. Ms. Kyle is an adjunct professor of law at Peoples College in Los Angeles. She sits on the board of the ACLU Pasadena/Foothills Chapter and is on the editorial board of the Photo courtesy Wadeva Images.


  1. Marshall says:

    We are not perfect but we have really come a long way just during my life time. Went from being arrested for transporting a black across the state line to going to the beach together without a second thought. Progress is progress.

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