Celebrating America’s Freedom While Remembering We Still Have a Long Way To Go

A young girl protests against the Confederate flag (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A young girl protests against the Confederate flag (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The 4th of July is a day to celebrate our nation’s accomplishments, but it also needs to be a day to analyze our history for its faults as well. History shapes our frame of reference and if we do not acknowledge the errors of our past then we our doomed to repeat them, and the Declaration of Independence will continue to represent unfulfilled ideals for many Americans.

In 1776 our country’s forefathers shocked many by their remonstrations, as other colonialists cowered to the thought of rebelling against the British. It is easy to see today that our forefathers were right and that Britain was on the wrong side of history. Ironically the founders’ fight for freedom did not extended to their women and their enslaved African brothers and sisters.

Centuries later the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence on freedom, equality, and justice have yet to be fully realized for all Americans, particularly black Americans. It is due to this disparity that the 4th of July has a different meaning to those that have yet to be fully included in its promises. The Declaration of Independence states that “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Since its founding, America has struggled to enact this claim of equality. It took almost 100 years later for the institution of slavery to be abolished and only after a brutal civil war. It took another 100 years for civil rights to be granted by law to African-Americans. It remains to be seen how much longer it will take to end the prejudice in our criminal justice system, get rid of mass incarceration, do away with second-class education for black children and to close the widening gap of economic disparities that continue to plague black and brown Americans.

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Source: The Grio
Michael Sainato is a Florida based freelance writer that focuses on civil rights and environmental issues. Follow him on Twitter @msainat1