the north star blog name has many origins: the desire of tns bloggers to authentically embody the principles of light and truth, our shared conviction that writing and dialogue are essential to resistance and freedom, and the creative brilliance of BJB blogger, brittani, who suggested the name.
our blog name also exists in tribute to the legacy of Frederick Douglass and the abolitionist newspaper he founded, The North Star.
in rochester, new york in 1841, Frederick Douglass delivered an Independence Day address best known as "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" 166 years later, we share the text from his speech, as people of color living in a nation at war globally and internally, and on a day that is intended to celebrate the destruction of oppression and the restoration of the dignity and autonomy of free peoples.
in the spirit of Douglass, we offer this speech as a call to action that remains not only relevant but absolutely imperative.
"...Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, 'may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!' To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery the great sin and shame of America..."
you can read more of Frederick Douglass' speech here. this excerpt is from:
The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, Volume II
Pre-Civil War Decade 1850-1860
Philip S. Foner
International Publishers Co., Inc., New York, 1950