So why the reference to the four dates in the title of this blog?
July 4, 1776 is said to be the day in which America became free. We celebrate annually with cook outs, America's Game (Baseball), parades, and of course, fireworks. For the most part America was freed that day; but not all her citizens realized that freedom. Although the country was free from Britain, Blacks weren't free from the institution of American Slavery, which was still going on well after American tasted freedom; I guess no one knew how to share the love. The free citizens still had enslaved servants working in their fields, being paraded around as their property, and yes, preparing all of their meals. You should have known the chef in me would crop up. In the photo below, a beautiful black woman is shown in the mist of pots and pans where she prepares meals for her free boss.
I actually wonder if this photo was taken by the slave owner - and why? Just curious. But what I do know is that this was not a free American.
Then there was the Emanipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln in 1863, which some say freed the slaves. That is not entirley true. Although that was a major turn in the freedom of slaves, it did not free all 4 million of them. It actually took the 1965 adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery in all states. But Blacks were still not created equal/free.
It was not until after the Civil Rights Movement yielded the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that Blacks realized true freedom. Led by the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the movement brought light to the fact that although most Americans could live free of prejudges, Black Americans could not. The persistence of people like Dr. King helped give us all the right to be free and created equal.
The photo below captures the beginning of that realized freedom on July 2, 1964:
|President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, look on.|
From this day forward, July 2nd will have a double meaning for me....Happy Independence Day to all!