“What to the Slave Is 4th of July?”: James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass’s Historic Speech

What to the Slave Is 4th of July?”: James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglas Historic Speech via Democracy Now. In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key abolitionist movement leader. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book,; Voices of a People History of the United States.

What moments in this film stood out for you? Why? 

Did it provide you with another viewpoint on July 4th? 

Were there any surprises? 

Anything that challenged what you know — or thought you knew? 

What messages, emotions, or ideas will you take away from this film? Why? 

What questions do you still have?

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