Essay What to the slave is the fourth of july

1041 Words Nov 7th, 2013 5 Pages
On Monday July 5th, 1852, Frederick Douglass captivated his audience at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York with one of the most powerful antislavery orations ever delivered, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”1 As an African American and former slave himself, Douglass was a crucial component to the Civil Rights movement and the abolishment of slavery. His concern for equal rights sprouted as early as twelve years old, often listening to debates among free blacks in Baltimore, as well as becoming a member of the East Baltimore Mental Improvement Society. While enslaved, he taught himself to read and write with the patriotic essays and speeches in Caleb Bingham’s The Columbian Orator, which emphasized the power of a speaker’s …show more content…
In his address, Douglas not only criticized the present generation of American citizens, but also condemned the church for not openly criticizing the allowance of slavery, especially the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. The Fugitive Slave Law recognized slavery nationally by declaring that all runaway slaves captured, by law, must be returned to their slave masters.14 Douglass shared his profound disappointment and bewilderment in the churches for not publicly acknowledging the injustices created by this law. He affirms the law reflects the church to be “simply a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love and good will towards man”.15 In the speech, Douglass claims that the American church is hypocritical because it goes against the Christian beliefs they claim to support. Douglass powerfully contends that the American Christian Church’s were an embarrassment to the Christian Gospel and a bad

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