Why we celebrating the 4th, still?

Andre Anderson-Thompson


In memory of Frederick Douglass


Barbecue in the midnight hour awaits chain whips

White ghost riding on horses

Come hither the American Nightmare

Celebrating the forecast

Beautiful blue sky

Night chill

The children, even cousins from out of town

Here we gather

To watch the entertainment

The terrorism is not yet defined

When pure is reigned supreme

The dialect

Is ignorant unknown yet?

The dictionary is written in tongue

Their tongue

All the mistakes we learn

Brain washed away in chains as we wait

By the tree, next in line

When the barbecue smells just right

The temperature is ready to place the meat on the grill

Cooking the soul away

The soulless audience watches amazed at the scenery

As the music is played called swing

As we swing and sing

On stage, now called celebrity

Called once a raisin in the sun

Or better yet

Strange fruit

All the same

The story never is told

Manifest destiny

Survival of the fittest

Fit me in the story

One paragraph down

Under the unknown paths of hidden truths

Truth is subjective

As we are presented free

And that is seen as objectified on a tree

Swing and move

We here now

Swinging, singing






Andre Anderson-Thompson was raised in Sacramento, California. He attended Morehouse College where he received a Bachelor's degree in English and a Master in Arts in Teaching from the University of Chicago and began his teaching career in Chicago. He continues as a international educator first in Tanzania and now in Bogota, Colombia

"¨Why we celebrating the 4th, still?¨ is a poem in memory of Frederick Douglass. In July 5, 1852, Douglass gave a speech entitled, ¨“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” This speech details the hypocrisy of celebrating freedom and independence in a country that legally grants the institution of chattel slavery. Moreover, the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebration in the US remains a festive and joyous holiday. This poem takes on the spirit of both Douglass and Richard Wright´s poem, ¨Between the World and Me.¨ Wright´s poem highlights a public viewing of a lynching, which was common in the United States. Utilizing these two significant African American writers allows to connect and reconnect with common themes that pertain to the United States of America’s racial landscape. The United States prides itself with the ideals of freedom, democracy, and justice while it perpetuates mass incarceration and the unequal criminal justice system. This poem highlights the factors that Black humanity is not fully acknowledged, which is seen by the rampant police shootings of Black people. The poem´s intention is to expose a harsh reality of the United States through exploitation, dehumanization, and racism. However, my goal is not just to complain and criticize about the injustice in the United States. I want to draw parallels from the past and to learn from the past in order to construct an honest perspective. I believe that within humanity is struggle and that struggle enables companionship, empathy, and relationships."