Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weekend Wise Words - Frederick Douglass’s “Fourth of July” Speech

Be Smart! Be Brilliant!

"Frederick Douglass's Fourth of July Speech is the most famous speech delivered by the abolitionist and civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass. In the nineteenth century, many American communities and cities celebrated Independence Day with a ceremonial reading of the Declaration of Independence, which was usually followed by an oral address or speech dedicated to the celebration of independence and the heritage of the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers. On July 5, 1852, the Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester, New York, invited Douglass to be the keynote speaker for their Independence Day celebration." - Commentary by L. Diane Barnes, Youngstown State University

I'm including only the end of Mr. Douglass's long speech and the poem he noted by William Lloyd Garrison. Thanks to web site:

"The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen, in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:"
God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o'er!
When from their galling chains set free, Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee, And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom's reign, To man his plundered rights again Restore.
God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good, Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end,
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.
God speed the hour, the glorious hour, When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant's presence cower; But all to manhood's stature tower, By equal birth!
THAT HOUR WILL COME, to each, to all,
And from his prison-house, the thrall Go forth.
Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I'll strive, To break the rod, and rend the gyve, The spoiler of his prey deprive
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate'er the peril or the cost,
Be driven.

Have a great 4th of July weekend.

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