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Descendants Read Frederick Douglass’ Speech: ‘What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?’

July 4, 2020

July 4, 2020

The U.S. celebrates this Independence Day amid nationwide protests and calls for systemic reforms. In this short film, five young descendants of Frederick Douglass read and respond to excerpts of his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” which asks all of us to consider America’s long history of denying equal rights to Black Americans.

The NPR put together a great film feature Frederick Douglass’ descendants. Watch the video below.

Descendants Read Frederick Douglass’ Speech

FEATURING (alphabetically)

  • Douglass Washington Morris II, 20 (he/him)
  • Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner, 15 (they/their)
  • Zoë Douglass Skinner, 12 (she/her)
  • Alexa Anne Watson, 19 (she/her)
  • Haley Rose Watson, 17 (she/her)

You can read the full text of “What To The Slave Is The Fourth of July?” here:… This video was inspired by Jennifer Crandall’s documentary project “Whitman, Alabama”. Visit

“It’s not Independence Day until we’re all free.”

– Kerry Washington

This weekend, let’s remember Frederick Douglass and follow Kerry Washington’s lead by making the Fourth of July into a social justice movement by personally, each one of us, making a phone call, signing a petition, and registering to vote.

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July 2020

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