Frederick Douglass: Inheritance Not Shared

Posted by admin on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Frederick Douglass Money Quote saying On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “What to the slave is the 4th of July?” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. Frederick Douglass said:
Blessings you rejoice are not enjoyed in common. Independence bequeathed shared not by me Quote

“The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me” — Frederick Douglass


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In this quote, Frederick Douglass is pointing out the stark differences in how Independence Day was experienced and celebrated by white Americans versus black Americans like himself who were still enslaved.

He suggests that while white citizens delighted in the blessings of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence secured by the American Revolution, these rights and privileges were not shared equally or enjoyed commonly by black people who remained in bondage.

The quote highlights Douglass’ view that the rich inheritance of the nation’s founding ideals did not extend to African Americans, and that true freedom was still denied to people of his race on a day proclaimed to honor liberty.

Birthday February 14, 1818 – Died February 20, 1895


Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879.  George K. Warren

Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879. George K. Warren. (National Archives Gift Collection)
Exact Date Shot Unknown
NARA FILE #: 200-FL-22


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