F**k the Fourth of July. In a world where we officially recognize Juneteenth, that great new holiday sits on the calendar casting a long shadow over Independence Day, making it look like a hypocrite and a damn fool.
Independence for who? It wasn’t independence for Black people, for our ancestors, so why would we celebrate the Fourth of July? And it isn’t merely that Americans owned slaves at the time when America became independent, it’s that slavery was completely wrapped up in the movement to become independent.
Nikole Hannah Jones’s essay from the 1619 Project reminds us that the very reason why the colonies sought independence from Britain was because the European country was talking about abolishing slavery. Jones wrote, “We may never have revolted against Britain if some of the founders had not understood that slavery empowered them to do so; nor if they had not believed that independence was required in order to ensure that slavery would continue. It is not incidental that 10 of this nation’s first 12 presidents were enslavers, and some might argue that this nation was founded not as a democracy but as a slavocracy.”