Fire up the grill, get the kids and light the fireworks! On July 4th, 1776 the Second Continental Congress adopt the United States Declaration of Independence, after an 8 year battle with the Crown. Members of American colonial society rejected the authority of British Parliament to tax them without Colonial representatives in the government. This eventually evolved into the American Revolution, where white and black men fought side-by-side.
Once the war was won America deemed itself a place where “all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But what did that mean in relation to African-Americans?
Nothing, nada, zilch, cero…
The truth of the matter is that July 4th did nothing for African-Americans on a large-scale. The Loyalists (Britain) as well as the Patriots (America) promised slaves money, self-government, land, but most important of all, freedom. As the Revolutionary War spread Africans sided with whichever army promised them personal liberty. The British actively recruited slaves belonging to Patriots and consequently more Africans wound up fighting for the crown.
The reality is that most slaves who fought for the rebels and the crown remained property of their masters, promises unfulfilled.
“Many thousands of African-Americans who aided the British lost their freedom anyway. Many of them ended up in slavery in the Caribbean. Others, when they attempted to leave with the British, in places like Charleston and Savannah, were prevented. And there are incredible letters written by southerners of Africans after the siege of Charleston, swimming out to boats, and the British hacking away at their arms with cutlasses to keep them from following them. So it was a very tragic situation. And of the many thousands of Africans who left the plantations, not many of them actually got their freedom.”
— Margaret Washington, historian, on the evacuation of Charleston
The feelings of discrimination and prejudice that was bred into this country’s fabric still lingers and it’s evident by how non-whites are treated by the law, especially those who are of African descent and of darker complexion.
It wouldn’t be until 1865 before we could even nibble on the idea of freedom…
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of physical slavery in the United States. On June 19th 1865 Union Soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas to declare that the remaining slaves are free.
Keep in mind that the Emancipation Proclamation was delivered by Abraham Lincoln on January 1st 1863, it was two and a half years before the final slaves were freed. This fact alone should show you just how much the Union cared about slaves. Here are some bullet points to keep in mind when thinking about Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation and its relation to slavery.
- Lincoln wasn’t an abolitionist, though he did feel like it was morally wrong overall. But he was conflicted as to what should be done about it. An abolitionist knows exactly what should be done with slavery, and that would be to eradicate it and accept freedmen as equal members of society. True abolitionist also felt that the Constitution was comparable to trash because it justified the system of slavery to begin with, it held no weight in their eyes.
- Lincoln didn’t think blacks should have the same rights as whites, even though some sources report he had African and Native American lineage. He believed in an All men created equal” just not politically so: “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” he began, going on to say that he opposed blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites.”
Lincoln believed that colonization was a great idea for Africans. He thought that the majority of Africans should settle back in Africa or in Central America. Ironically the African leaders of the time were angered with Lincolns proposal and argued that they were natives just as much as anyone else.
- Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation didn’t actually free ALL the slaves. The Proclamation was a military order, with that being said it didn’t apply to border states such as Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, all of which had remained loyal to the Union. It was also allowed to continue in subdued Confederate states in hopes that the Union would gather inertia. In summary the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to where the Union had no control. By the war’s end approximately 200,000 African men had served in the Civil War.
Overall the 4th of YOU-LIE! is about exposing the truths regarding Independence Day, slavery, as well as challenging the cliché narratives coupled with American holidays. The lies within American culture are most definitely deep-rooted in hate, bigotry, emasculation and fear. America’s policies haven’t changed much over the years if you look at how they frame historical events through propaganda via the media.
- How could I believe in Patriotism when the “patriots” of the American Revolution didn’t even consider my ancestors human?
- How could I wear red, white and blue when it doesn’t represent my heritage or my identity?
- How could I sing the star-spangled banner knowing that my people have been and still are confused about their godliness?
- How could I celebrate the 4th of YOU-LIED knowing that my people were promised equality and human rights but were deceived?
These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself if you’re an African in America. So while you heat up those ribs and hotlinks think about this post and think about why YOU celebrate holidays….
Save a burger for me!