Author and podcaster Toure Neblett at The Grio says he does not recognize America’s Independence Day — only that of Juneteenth.
What are the details?
In a highly critical editorial, Neblett said “F*** the Fourth of July” and that the only independence that is important to him is celebrated on newly minted federal holiday Juneteenth.
Neblett’s Saturday article began, “F*** the Fourth of July. In a world where we officially recognize Juneteenth, that great new holiday sits on the calendar casting a long shadow over Independence Day, making it look like a hypocrite and a damn fool. Independence for who? It wasn’t independence for black people, for our ancestors, so why would we celebrate the Fourth of July? And it isn’t merely that Americans owned slaves at the time when America became independent, it’s that slavery was completely wrapped up in the movement to become independent.”
Citing Nikole Hannah Jones’ essay from the 1619 Project, he added that the “founding of this country is intertwined with slavery.”
“Why would we celebrate that?” he asked.
Neblett also slammed former President Thomas Jefferson as a slaveowner, and pointed to abolitionist Thomas Day, who once wrote, “If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.”
“Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence had a part where slavery was condemned — even as one of his 600 slaves stood by, ready to do whatever he said,” Neblett continued, insisting that the section blamed slavery on Great Britain, and that it falsely stated former King George foisted the malignant practice upon America like a birthright written in blood.
“Congress ended up rejecting that section and created a Constitution that protected slavery without mentioning it,” Neblett continued in the essay. “This reminds me of today, a time when white supremacy shapes American life so deeply that white people are fighting against the teaching of Critical Race Theory because nowadays, as it was back in the early days of America, this country is both engaged in racism and in working hard to pretend it’s not.”
America, Neblett insisted, has “never been the land of liberty and justice for all,” and especially not for black people.
“[W]e have fought to make America more American — more free and more just,” he insisted, “We are critical to America moving closer to living up to its promise. We are critical to America. But it’s still f*** the Fourth of July for me.”
Citing Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech, which reads:
A day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
Neblett closed, “In a world where the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Eric Garner and more remain hyperpresent in the black mind, we still see shocking and sometimes bloody things happening to black bodies because of the people of America. So miss me with your Fourth of July celebration this year and every year. The only independence day I recognize is Juneteenth.”