"We hold these truths to be self evident, 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."
These were such powerful and promising words when they were written on July 4th, 1776.
And then July 5th came, and it was apparent that these words did not apply to all of American's residents.
So we ask, how much longer will it take?
We have been here since 1619.
How much more can we do? We have died in the defense of an ideal that we have never attained.
For 89 years after these words were written, we were denied Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Hell, we were denied basic Humanity.
Oh, no. We didn't forget. Three-fifths human was the rationalization you used to deny us our birthright. We were deemed property.
The human capital this nation's very wealth was built on.
Literally. We haven't forgotten that enslaved people were one of the very first "commodities" traded on the stock exchange.
Nor have we forgotten that Wall Street is literally built on top of the burial ground of enslaved Africans.
No, we haven't forgotten that th e13 Amendment which purports to "abolish" slavery also includes a very big EXCEPT as a condition of our "freedom".
An exception that explains how it is possible for the "land of the free" to incarcerate more of its citizens, both as an aggregate number AND on a per capita basis, than any other nation on the planet.
we haven't forgotten that Black men and women have died in every single military conflict back to the birth of this Republic. We haven't forgotten the Crispus Attucks, a Black man, who was the first to give his life in the Revolutionary War.
We haven't forgotten that as soon as we were no longer enslaved, you changed the rules to criminalize being homeless and jobless, arrested and convicted us, then leased us back to the very plantations we had just left. Slavery by another name.
We haven't forgotten the Black Codes that created a racial caste system and deemed us second class citizens.
Bottom of America's totem pole.
We haven't forgotten about the broken promise of 40 acres and a mule.
We haven't forgotten about Jim Crow.
Racially Restrictive Covenants.
We haven't forgotten that Black soldiers returning home from World War II were prohibited from using their GI Benefits to purchase homes like their white counterparts.
We haven't forgotten about CointelPro. Martin's assassination. The targeted dismantling of the Black Panthers, though interestingly enough, NOT the KKK.
We haven't forgotten that drugs were purposely pumped into out communities to destabilize our families.
We haven't forgotten that the "War on Drugs" is really a War on Us.
We haven't forgotten that we have been systematically targeted for higher costs of borrowing, even when our credit and income are comparable to others.
We haven't forgotten Trayvon Martin. Mike Brown. Eric Gardner. John Crawford. Tamir Rice. Sandra Bland. Countless others, too many to list.
We haven't forgotten 400 years of being America's dark secret.
Yet we still cling to the slimmest of hopes that , "All men are created equal," and "Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."
See, we have not forgotten that promise you made on that July 4th, 1776.
But it seems you have.
And so this year, as we have hundreds before, we ask, "What is your 4th of July to a slave?"
About Bartholomew J. Worthington III
Bartholomew J. Worthington III is an anti-establishment Blacktivist with a profound disdain for authority figures; dreams in vivid techni-color; and can virtually taste the day when he finally achieves escape velocity from the rat race.