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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

– From the Declaration of Independence (Preamble)


The July newsletter of the Yocum African American History Association commemorates the founding of our nation, as shown below, and is in furtherance of the organization’s goal to serve the community, by providing in-depth materials to enrich the history of America and highlighting the invaluable contributions of black citizens. Please take a few minutes to read the newsletter as you enjoy your Fourth of July celebration.


This month YAAHA celebrates July 4 by sharing excerpts from the Frederick Douglass keynote oration, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July, given at Corinthian Hall, July 5, 1852, at the invitation of The Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society.

The Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society thought slavery “was an evil that ought not to exist, and was a violation of the inalienable rights of man.” They were steadfast in refusing any partisan political alignment, hoping to broaden their appeal across partisan lines. Although Rochester was widely known as the home of Frederick Douglass’ Paper, at the time, Douglass was “the only anti-slavery instrumentality in the community.” The Rochester Ladies were anxious to increase the support for their anti-slavery movement.

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                                                   Frederick Douglass
 What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July
The Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society invited Frederick Douglass to give a keynote oration at an Independence Day Celebration on July 5, 1852, in front of President Millard Fillmore and a large crowd of 600 people, some abolitionists.  Douglass refused to give the speech on the Fourth of July. The speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” was a scathing attack on the hypocrisy of a nation celebrating freedom and independence with speeches, parades, and platitudes, while, within its borders, nearly four million humans were being kept as slaves.

Interestingly, President Millard Fillmore’s Whig Party had completed its party platform on June 17, 1852, and condoned the series of acts of the Thirty-first Congress to agree to the Compromise of 1850, which included the Fugitive Slave Act that required the North to return escaped slaves to the South.

In his speech, while Douglass acknowledged the greatness of the founding fathers, he also decried the hypocrisy of the American government in the 1850s …” Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men, there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent and the prudent of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

…Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded, and today you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours, and you, therefore, may properly celebrate the anniversary. The Fourth of July is the first fact in your nation’s history—the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.”

…They were peace men, but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men but did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance but that they knew its limits. They believed not in order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty, and humanity were “final,” not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice embodied in the Declaration of Independence extended to us?”

…The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me…This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn…

The audience within Corinthian Hall that included President Fillmore was enthusiastic, voting unanimously to endorse the speech at its end.

YAAHA Will Be Exhibiting at Two Locations for the Great Homeschool Conventions: Jacksonville, Florida,
July 22-24, and Cincinnati, Ohio, August 12-14

Homeschool families travel from all over the country to attend one of the GHC to acquire practical ideas and resources from speakers and educators that can be used in homeschools across the nation. YAAHA is proud to share our resources on black history with attendees. Great Homeschool Conventions have become the homeschooling event of the year.

Jacksonville, Florida, July 22-24, at Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, 1000 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204.

Cincinnati, Ohio, August 12-14, at Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

Would you please join us? Register for Jacksonville here and for Cincinnati here.

                                        YAAHA’s Talented Volunteers

Yocum African American History Association (YAAHA) is pleased to announce Cheyenne E. Heavener, and D’Andre J. Hill have joined our organization as volunteers. Their expertise is very much appreciated as YAAHA develops the virtual learning center for black history education.

Cheyenne E. Heavener is a May 2021 Drury University Honors graduate who received her Bachelor of Arts in English, Writing. Cheyenne’s experience is versed with four years in the U.S. Air Force and served as the Records and Freedom of Information Act Manager for thirteen military bases. She organized and facilitated the university’s annual English Symposium as the Sigma Tau Delta chapter president. In addition, she researched the Missouri Humanities Symposium and Drury University Humanities and Ethics Center. She provided hands-on opportunities in interpretation, educational programming, exhibit design, marketing, and non-profit business management in the private sector. YAAHA welcomes Cheyenne to the organization.

D’Andre A. Hill is a May 2021 Drury University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Animation, Writing. This honors graduate is experienced in multimedia storytelling, multimedia writing, and motion graphics. He was the senior project director of the “Solace” film and served as a marketing intern for the Lady in the Red Dress PR and Marketing Agency where he generated media, graphics, and content for social media platforms. D’Andre served as a student assistant in the Drury Office of Diversity. His additional skills include graphic design, Photoshop, and Google Docs Prezi Microsoft Office capabilities. YAAHA welcomes D’Andre to the organization.





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You may make a donation also by sending a check payable to YAAHA to:
PO Box 1507
Medina, OH 44258


Author: Frances Rice