The People Speak: Brian Jones

Frederick Douglass’ “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” 

In The People Speak, some of today’s leading performers and artists give voice to figures neglected by history. July Fourth is held up as a day to celebrate the struggle for freedom and independence. But the great abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass — who twice spoke at BAM — dared to challenge the celebration of the holiday. Here is part of “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” his remarkable address delivered to the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society in 1852.