In 1852, Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave from the southern states who became a leader in the abolition movement, was asked to give a keynote speech by the city fathers of Rochester, New York, during the fourth of July celebrations. In front of the whole town he rose to deliver a scathing attack:

‘What to the American slave is your fourth of July? …your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license… your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, your religious parade are…bombast, deception, impiety and hypocrisy.’

Let us strive so that we can live honourably and never be accused of such things again. In Lincoln’s words, ‘In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.’

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