Next Tuesday the nation will be celebrating its 241st Birthday. On July 4, 1776, the nation’s founding fathers signed the final draft of the declaration of independence separating the 13 colonies from the British Empire. It wasn’t easy obtaining independence from Britain. It took a “tea party” and a “massacre” to secure this nation’s sovereignty.
The 13 colonies of the eastern seaboard were tired of paying taxes and being beholden to the British Monarchy, which was ruled by King George III at the time. In 1767, a tea company in India owned by England was losing money. So the king levied taxes on the tea which was sold amongst the colonies to save the company. Samuel Adams and several Bostonians dressed up like Indians dumped a cargo of the Indian Company Tea into the Boston Harbor.
This anger King George. He sent British soldiers to the harbor who fired out into the crowd killing several citizens. The colonists retaliated by throwing stones giving birth to what’s known as the Boston Tea Party Massacre. Then in September 1774, the first Continental Congress drew up a list of grievances against the British crown which became the first draft of the declaration of independence. As time marched on, a final draft of the document was completed and signed on July 4, 1776.
The Declaration of Independence clearly states that “ALL men are created equal by their Creator with certain undeniable rights such as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” However, 100 years would pass before African-Americans were able to exercise those rights. Freedom from slavery came with a price with racial discrimination, lynchings, community isolation, economic disparities and so on.
Fast forward until today, African-Americans still struggle with being free in a nation that constantly ostracizes them for the color of their skin. Even when going about their daily lives and routines as free citizens, they continue to be at risk no matter where they are. Recent police shootings resulting in needless deaths of innocent black men have taken its toll not only on African-Americans but on the nation as a whole. Despite their struggle to get along in a nation that often doesn’t accept or understand the uniqueness of their culture, African-Americans continue to thrive as proud citizens. They continue to contribute to this great nation in every way and like their fellow Caucasian citizens look forward to celebrating the 4th of July Holiday every single year. It’s a time for barbeques, picnics,, vacations, fireworks and in my case, celebrating my sister, Crys’ Birthday. It’s called freedom. Free to choose, Free to exist, Free to celebrate as one sovereign nation under one God.