To the Editor:

On Independence Day, 1852, Frederick Douglass asked an audience in Rochester, NY, “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”

He answered his own question: it’s “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days...the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” Douglass continued, “Your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license… your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns... are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”

Decades before Douglass’s address, Shawnee elder Tecumseh, asked and answered a similar query: “Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pokanoket, and other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man as snow before a summer sun.”

African Americans and Indigenous people the world over have used what scholars now call “Critical Race Theory” to give their perspective on America’s troubled history and hypocrisy.

It has taken centuries to finally present a more accurate picture of what slavery and manifest destiny looked like from the other end of the lash and the long gun.

Only protest and struggle have brought to students and citizens a truer picture of our past. Attempts to silent such views or worse, whitewash our history again, have no place in our schools or our community.

– Corey Dolgon

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