July Fourth is a sham. Only reparations can make it real


Fourth of July is canceled.

Well, not really. But this year, of all years, it feels like it should be.

I’m reminded of the words of abolitionist Frederick Douglass who asked in 1852: “What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?”

He went on to answer his own question, of course: “A day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham.”

Indeed, 170 years later, with half of Congress defending an attempted coup by a former president and his racist mob and the Supreme Court stripping women of rights and threatening to do the same to others, I wonder how any American can celebrate “freedom” without thinking it a sham.

It’s only the words of another Black man, George Fatheree, that have given me pause.

A real estate transaction lawyer, Fatheree is perhaps best known for representing the descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce, the Black couple who were run out of Manhattan Beach a century ago, their land seized in a racist act of eminent domain.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a deal to return the land,…



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