“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

Source and excerpt -Washington Post, Colbert King, July 3, 2020

‘Frederick Douglass’s historic oration and cry of pain, anger and resolve were delivered to the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society’s Fourth of July observance in Rochester, N.Y., in 1852.

Douglass did not use the occasion to take anything away from the Founders and their legacy. “I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration,” he told the crowd of more than 500 abolitionists. “They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.”

But Douglass knew he was commemorating the signing of the Declaration at the very hour millions of black men, women and children in America were chained to servitude. “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers,” Douglass said to his largely white audience, “is shared by you, not by me”.