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What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.

B[l]ack on Independence Day in High School

To be frank, it was the first reality check I received as student color, and the first time I’d be academically disfranchised. Moreover, for fear of being reprimanded and having my participation grade tampered, I dug deep; I seemingly tried burying my emotions, and so, I smiled. I pretended to be proud. I danced with cognitive dissonance. After all, I was still an American; right? But beneath my surface, bewilderment drowned my virgin spirit.