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Judge Melodee Armstrong Talks Independence and What, to the Slave, Is the 4th of July

Judge Melodee Armstrong

Source: CS / Radio One Digital

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She is an Attorney & Mediator of wrongful death and high-profile cases please welcome Judge Melodee Armstrong.  

Coming off the heels of the US Supreme Court banning Affirmative Action, many of all cultures, colors and faiths are adjusting how to address inequality at various levels.
Frederick Douglas gave a famous speech  entitled “What, to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”   Share a little bit  of the independence of Frederick Douglas in the face of slavery.
Pastor Otis Moss III at Trinity United Christian Church in Chicago does an incredible recitation of Douglas’ speech.

Frederick Douglas left the US as a runaway slave when the block got hot from his anti-slavery efforts.  He returned after his freedom was purchased.   Instead of going mute, he returned to the block and started a newspaper to advocate even more.
His home was part of the underground railroad.  And, he urged for blacks to enlist in the civil war to show our allegiance to this country to help end slavery.
He held several government posts and was ambassador to Haiti where he urged Haiti’s independence.


What are some takeaways from his famous 4th of July speech? 
Ambassador Douglas was a member of an anti-slavery society. He was invited by the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester NY to speak on July 4, 1852.  He accepted.  But chose to speak on July 5th.  
Douglas said the signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave and great men with the right vision and spirit.  But in the words of the Isley Bros, he said we had work to do so all citizens can enjoy life liberty and pursuit of happiness.
“Such high independence and celebrations only reveal the immeasurable distance between us.  The 4th of July is a day more than all other days that reveals the gross injustice and cruelty to which the slave is the constant victim.”
So how do we stay encouraged for unity and true independence?
As you decide whose BBQ and potato salad you’ll eat, some fun facts:  When giving the speech, Douglas was struggling financially.  His friend invited him to speak to help fund raise to keep his newspaper afloat.
With his speech, she  might have thought “And this is my thanks?”
Douglas used his 5th of July speech long after the Emancipation Proclamation to highlight the nation’s track record when celebrating the 4th.    He stayed true to freedom for all and did not sell or compromise his soul.
He fixed his finances &  knew the power of economics and land.   There was no red lining then.  There was just outright slavery.   At his final home in DC,  I was inspired to learn he wanted to buy the land called Cedar Hill that looked out over the meadows. But, the former plantation owner refused to sell to him.    The owner went bankrupt and TJ guess who got the land?
In the Old City in Jerusalem, Muslims, Armenians, Jews and Christians peaceably co-exist.  So, the 4th reminds us to celebrate the  possibilities that shine brightly before us for a truly  united states.    The 5th reminds us we come from the Douglas legacies of resilience, education, entrepeurship, patriotic service and unapologetic greatness.
Freedom was not free.  So let’s celebrate that we are the hope of the grave and the joy of the slave. Let’s  make them proud.”





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