What does the Fourth of July really mean to Black Americans?
Vanessa and co-host, Sharmell Favours discuss what the July fourth holiday meaning is, what it means to them and the significance of this holiday for Black people.
Tellers of the Untold is a platform to recognize fragments of our past, so our story will be complete and that we as Black Americans can be united and reconcile with the country and ourselves.
Co-host Sharmell Favours
– She was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Her background is in-home health care and senior caregiving. She is studying to be a phlebotomist and has a one-year-old daughter.
What is your tradition for the 4th of July?
– Sharmell- The city of Columbus and her family celebrates with fireworks, BBQ and parades. She bought her daughter a red, white and blue dress for the day.
- Vanessa- In Chicago, the celebration isn’t as big as she remembers when growing up in Ohio. She remembers being in a parade every year. People would receive seats a week beforehand to save their spots.
The meaning of July 4th
Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated every year on July 4, in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence which was signed in 1776. The 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, which eventually led to the formation of the United States. However, July 4, 1776, wasn’t the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence. That was done on August 2, 1776. It wasn’t until 1783 the Fourth of July became a holiday in many places. The celebration included speeches, military events, parades, and fireworks.
The Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator.”
What does that mean?
- Frederick Douglass gave a speech the day after Independence Day in 1852, saying “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn… Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?”.
Do you look at this day differently now?
- Sharmell: Who were they referring to when they said “All men are created equal? It’s important to do our own research, but when will we get our own “Declaration of independence?…. food for thought.”