I can understand why some African-Americans decline to celebrate July 4th, the birth of the United States. The Declaration of Independence was a sort of promissory note, not fully available to them.
“You call it Independence Day,” they say, “but it was not independence for Black people in America.”
That is partly true, and is one reason why Juneteenth is important.
While slavery once was practiced in both the North and South, as the Colonies ramped up to fight for their freedom, white Northerners passed laws to secure freedom for people who didn’t look like them.
Many African descendants living in the Colonies were free even before that. Some Blacks enslaved other Blacks.
A free Black man, Crispus Attucks, was a patriot who was killed in 1770’s Boston Massacre, and is credited with being the first person to die for freedom in the Revolutionary War.
His name should be widely known and celebrated among both Blacks and whites.
The truth is, the vast majority of African-Americans do celebrate the Fourth of July. Just drive through Fairmount Park and see the families grilling and picnicking.
Or look at our military, in which Black people comprise about 30% of active duty military personnel while they are only 13% of the population. By this measure, you could argue Blacks are more patriotic than whites.
Edison High School holds the sad distinction of having more of its students killed in Vietnam than any other high school — 64, almost all Black.
In World War II, the Black Tuskegee Airmen were discriminated against in large and small ways by the Army, but they took that guff because they were determined to fight for a country that did not treat them fairly. How many other people love this country that much?
The Black people I know — which excludes some academics and those who make a living out of assumed victimhood — celebrate Independence Day.
They feel they have earned it.
And they have.
Happy Independence Day to everyone.