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I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. - Frederick Douglass

This weekend marks the 247th Fourth of July, declaring America's independence from Great Britain. Yes, the Fireworks, BBQ, and Waving Flags stir patriotic sentiments in our hearts.


At the same time, many of us yearn for the day when July Fourth does not invite the ambivalence we also feel this weekend. Both feelings are legitimate.


We long for the day when we can cherish the country we love without feeling torn by the two-ness that W.E.B. Du Bois wrote about in The Souls of Black Folk. And just as Douglass accurately prophesied the death of slavery in his famous speech, that day is coming. It's coming because of the determination of true patriots of all races who believe in the Founding Fathers' beautiful promises more than the Founding Fathers did. It will be our birthday present to America.


If it had been, Douglass would never have had to ask the electrifying question in his famous speech in 1852: "What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?" If the founders had really meant what they said, there would not have been any slaves.


Frederick Douglass | Deeper Understanding

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an Independence Day celebration and asked, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Explore the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture's material on Douglass and the Fourth of July through the African American experience.  Learn More

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Sunday Bulletin | Sweet Magnolia marks the Fourth of July Weekend on Sunday, July 2, 2023, during Morning Worship.  Download Bulletin

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Sojourners | Whose Fourth of July? As a nation, we embrace this history because we are largely ignorant of the true nature of our past. As Americans, we celebrate our foundations of ‘discovery’ and cling to our narrative of ‘exceptionalism’ because we have been taught that God founded this nation on the principle of freedom for all. Read More

History Brief: African Americans in the Revolution | In this episode, the role of African Americans in the Revolutionary War is discussed.

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