Home | About | Donate

"What to the Slave is 4th of July?": James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass's Historic Speech


"What to the Slave is 4th of July?": James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass's Historic Speech

Democracy Now!

In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro." He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, "Voices of a People’s History of the United States." He was introduced by Zinn.


Frequently citing Fredrick Douglas as touchstone, artist Roberto Levins Morales combines incisive observations with bard-like skills of narrative into encyclopedic presentation that feels like being read a novel. The artist's capacity to utilize words like pigment and brush, rhythm and melody - closer to the way our minds have evolved to function. Enjoy


As I've just posted to my Facebook timeline:

Why I no longer enjoy the coincidence of my birthday and "the nation's," or make the ever-growing effort to nudge into just the end of my local fireworks, after the worst of the jingoism is over. I have neighbors who are today flying the US and Confederate (Covfefe?) Battle Flags side by side. I do not wish to celebrate with them. Instead, I will stand with Standing Rock, proclaim that Black Lives Matter especially in 2017, call with a certain lady depicted with a broken chain at her feet for doors to be opened to the hopeless, tempest-tossed who are desperate enough to leave their own beloved homelands. I do hold the truths to be self-evident, but for all people.

[W]hile Jones's voice is as always richly representing, I suggest there may be more power in reading the transcript that follows the video, and making the voice your own.




Yes. Frederick Douglass. And the same bigots and two-timing fraudsters are controlling us, still today - THE CORPORATIONS.


Thank you DN for playing this-----with my 500 channels of cable crap DN is one place to find some sanity.


Do you remember the days of slav'ry?


But, but Frederick Douglass is still alive and partying with Rosa Parks...why have James Earl Jones read for him???? (Just ask the Mango Mussolini....)

When I read Douglass' autobiography, I was awed by his eloquence, sincerity, depth, passion, and grace. What an incredible man, hero, intellect!!!


Jahmin', Mon!