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Dear white people: Frederick Douglass explains the Trump resistance in “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

The former slave's tribute to the American Revolution — and attack on American hypocrisy — rings loud in 2017.

Chauncey DeVega, Salon

Jul 4, 2017 | Every year on this day I read Frederick Douglass’ 1852 speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” This apex of American words and letters is a demand for citizenship and freedom. It is also a searing indictment of a so-called democracy in which white-on-black chattel slavery was the rule of the land.

More than 150 years after it was first delivered, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” still resonates because the color line remains one of America’s great contradictions and unresolved projects. In today’s America, white supremacy is like a ghost or shade that still haunts our democracy: Its ominous shadow looms over voting, the policing of black and brown communities, disparities in wealth and income, the labor market, housing, education, the courts and a society where a person’s skin color still impacts how they are marked as deserving full and equal dignity. DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon.

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