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Special Project | A 4th of July Holiday Reader

  • Part 1: Rethinking the 4th of July,
  • There is something profoundly inappropriate about blowing off fireworks at a time when the United States is waging war — and underwriting war — with real fireworks around the world.
  • Part 2: Frederick Douglass’s Fourth of July speech called out America for its hypocrisy.
  • Trump’s takeover of the holiday shows we haven’t learned much.
  • Part 3: What the Flag Means to Me,
  • I believe we are living one of the most incredible lies in history, … ignoring empirical reality. It is truly amazing!

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest
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Part 1: Rethinking the 4th of July

https://www.zinnedproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/fireworksovereastvilalgeNYC-768x576.jpegThere is something profoundly inappropriate about blowing off fireworks at a time when the United States is waging war — and underwriting war — with real fireworks around the world.

Bill Bigelow, Zinn Education Project

July 2, 2018 | In Portland, Oregon, where I live, the 4th of July holiday offers an excuse for a wonderful annual blues festival in Waterfront Park downtown. Unfortunately, in my neighborhood, it also provides cover for people to blow off fireworks that terrify young children and animals, and that turn the air thick with smoke and errant projectiles. Last year, the fire department here reported 260 fires sparked by toy missiles, defective firecrackers, and other items of explosive revelry during the 4th of July “fireworks season” from late June through early July.

Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are also at risk. “The sounds of repeated explosions can trigger fits of anger or suicidal thoughts,” warns the Blinded Veterans Association. And there are other health effects of fireworks. The Washington State Department of Ecology warns that “Breathing fine particles in fireworks smoke can cause or contribute to serious short- or long-term health problems. They include: Risk of heart attack and stroke. Lung inflammation. Reduced lung function. Asthma-like symptoms. Asthma attacks.”

Bill Bigelow is curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools magazine and co-director of the Zinn Education Project. He is the author or co-editor of many Rethinking Schools publications,

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Part 2: Frederick Douglass’s Fourth of July speech called out America for its hypocrisy. Trump’s takeover of the holiday shows we haven’t learned much.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/resizer/YM69mHTALogPgSmZDtv5-XQ-wBo=/1484x0/arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/37DGTDCX5QI6DF7VEU7IUT5VXQ.jpg / Frederick Douglass’s historic home, Cedar Hill, in Southeast Washington. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Although slavery ended 154 years ago, the white supremacy ideology underpinning it did not.

Courtland Milloy, Washington (DC) Post

July 2, 2019 | Every July 4 for more than a decade, actor Phil Darius Wallace has performed excerpts from Frederick Douglass’s most famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Although slavery ended 154 years ago, the white supremacy ideology underpinning it did not.

As a result, racial injustice continues. And Wallace is set to attack it again in the great orator’s own words, on Thursday at Cedar Hill, Douglass’s historic home in Southeast Washington.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php? data-cke-saved-src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/washpost/48debd67-f5e4-4755-b21f-f14071166403.png&w=200&h=200&t=20190702a src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/washpost/48debd67-f5e4-4755-b21f-f14071166403.png&w=200&h=200&t=20190702a / Courtland Milloy, Columnist, Washington (DC) Post

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Part 3: What the Flag Means to Me

I believe we are living one of the most incredible lies in history, covered over by one of the most successful campaigns of public rhetoric, ignoring empirical reality. It is truly amazing!

S. Brian Willson, brianwillson.com / Counterpunch

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/US%20Flag%20with%20Obstruction%20Impeach%2045%20Banner.jpgJuly 4, 2002 | I was probably seven years old before it really sunk in that everybody in my town was not celebrating my birthday on July 4. It was an exciting day with parades, picnics, fireworks and, in my case, special birthday parties and gifts. I lived much of my young life with the extra boost of having been born on the day that our earliest political framers signed the Declaration of Independence, an historical act of defiance against monarchial colonial rule from distant England. I remember proudly carrying the U.S. American flag in one of the July 4th parades in my small, agricultural town in upstate New York. And for years I felt goosebumps looking at Old Glory waving in the breeze during the playing of the national anthem or as it passed by in a parade. How lucky I was to have been born in the greatest country in the history of the world, and blessed by God to boot. Such a blessing, such a deal!

S. Brian Willson is a Vietnam veteran who in 1987 had his legs cut off at Concord, California, while protesting a Naval train carrying weapons headed for Central America. Visit his website.

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