Frederick Douglass - Most Moving Speech from 1852

"As it comes to me, I impart the wisdom, O Lalo" - Guru Nanak

No matter how challenging it may be to articulate the truth, it is essential to vocalize it. Expressing the truth brings people closer to it, as demonstrated when Guru Nanak fearlessly addresses the atrocities of Babur or when Guru Gobind Singh speaks out against similar injustices. A parallel truth is evident in Frederick Douglass's discourse on slavery. In the midst of Abraham Lincoln's era, Douglass, an African American Civil Rights activist, boldly altered his speech during an event on July 5, 1852, originally intended to commemorate the Declaration of Independence, to address the pressing issue of American Slavery.

Within the now-famous address is what historian Philip S. Foner has called "probably the most moving passage in all of Douglass' speeches."

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; 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 sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, 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.