Frederick Douglass Knew What False Patriotism Was

From a New York Time guest essay by Esau McCaulley headlined “Frederick Douglass Knew What False Patriotism Was”:

In 1852 Frederick Douglass delivered what may be his most famous address, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” This time of year, quotations from the speech dart around Black social media as a subtle pushback on uncomplicated celebrations of American independence.

Douglass wondered what the enslaved might say if they were called from the plantations to reflect on themes of liberty, justice and equality. How might their words differ from the prose of the free orators normally asked to comment on American ideals? There is a revolution in the reorientation of perspective, when the powerless are given space to speak. That hasn’t changed.