How to talk about Tough Issues of Race & Poverty, Bryan Stevenson’s True Justice Documentary & Why Frederick Douglass’ 1852 Speech is still being read today

As we celebrated Independence Day over the weekend, a special reading of Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech ‘What to the slave is the Fourth of July’ was read at Stagville Plantation in Durham, once one of the largest plantations in North Carolina that enslaved hundreds of people. Durham City Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton reflected on the importance of Douglass’ speech against the backdrop of Independence Day: “Even today, his speech is useful because it reminds us of the ongoing work we need to do when we look at disparities between blacks and whites,” he said.

“Every time we participate in the Fourth of July, we need to look around and think who isn’t free? Who is not enjoying the blessings of prosperity? Who is not participating in this incredible wealth in this country made on the backs of slaves?”

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