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reciting his 4th of July speech, you really must watch it. And please do read the transcript of the speech. Here’s an excerpt: “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.”
First Nations, Faces, Five Hundred Years — you can’t talk about systemic oppression without interrogating our country’s relationship with indigenous communities — in light of the farce of a speech at Mt. Rushmore, it is essential to know what was stolen and what is at stake from the perspective of original communities:
This is quoted from NDN’s July 3rd Mt. Rushmore release:
“While America has largely been conditioned to minimize the harm caused by colonization, Indigenous people today continue to endure the residual effects of centuries of settler colonialism.
“Indigenous people have resisted colonization for the past 500 years.” … “Colonization is the oldest form of white supremacy, and America is being called out and called up to acknowledge that. Mount Rushmore is yet another symbol of white supremacy and colonization, and until it is returned to the Lakota, we will continue to oppose it and fight for justice.”
“Founding” Fathers, Framers, Footnotes, Famous Figures — The idea of “founding,” is designed to create the illusion that nothing of value existed prior to Columbus who, one could legitimately call the founding father of the slave trade. With Hamilton in the news again, it’s worth looking at how Founding Fathers gets defined — some say eight, some say ten — these are the men who made significant intellectual contributions to the Constitution. The Framers, on the other hand, are sometimes considered synonymous with the 39 signers but there are those who say framers are the 66 delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention (16 did not sign). No matter the definition, it should be very clear that these white men became the focus of the US origin story — a story that, once reframed, reveals perspectives and possibilities that go unexplored because we treat our history as something frozen in time. After watching Hamilton again, I want to know more about John Laurens and Lafayette, everyone’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman, as he has been called.
Freedman Bureau — a complex history, a complex attempt at addressing a future for freed people including, but not limited to, Black slaves. It fell far short of its promises. It is remembered as one of many flawed attempts to address the Federal government’s failures. Related to the Freedman Bureau, freedoms, false promises and moving forward, are the following F words and ideas:
Führer — I’ll just leave that there. You can make of it what you will.
Furor, Future, Force, Fierce, Finally, Fading, Firm, False, Finding Out — What does the future hold? My stomach may be flip-flopping but that won’t do for now. Staying focused is fundamental.
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