Pragmatic Historian
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Food for Thought on Independence Day 2020

2020 has been a tumultuous year so far, as many people have pointed out already. We have a pandemic to contend with that has caused 132,000 deaths in the United States, massive unemployment, and economic upheaval. Donald Trump and his White House Administration, with the all-out encouragement of the Republican party at all levels of government, has created chaos by continually dismantling whatever parts of the federal government he can get his hands on. And the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked protests around the world demanding long-overdue racial justice for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color.

As I scroll through social media today, a couple of stories have me digging for further history. One is the referencing of a speech by Frederick Douglass on July 5, 1852, called “What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?” Here are a few sources that give some background on this stirring speech:

From The Public Domain Review: First Edition Pamphlet of Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?” (1852)

From the National Museum of African American History and Culture, A Nation’s Story: “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

From PBS, the full text of the speech, which has been called by several different titles.

The other item that has me digging into history was seeing a photo of Stone Mountain, the natural rock formation that was called the Six Grandfathers by the Lakota prior to being carved into Mount Rushmore.

Here are several articles related to that history, including one on the treaty defenders who blocked the road to the site to try to prevent Donald Trump’s July 4th speech.

PBS, American Experience: Native Americans and Mount Rushmore

The New York Times: How Mount Rushmore Became Mount Rushmore

Truth or Fiction?: Mount Rushmore Before Carving

Indian Country Today: Treaty defenders block road leading to Mount Rushmore

Because of the much-needed protests our country is experiencing this Independence Day, here is one more article that has important information for protesters.

From Teen Vogue: Protestors Say Tear Gas Caused Them to Get Their Period Multiple Times in a Month

It’s time we ban the use of tear gas, period. Stay safe out there, defenders of justice and freedom!