"What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: 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; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy " a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour- (Douglass). Fredrick Douglass spoke out very powerfully on the 5th of July in 1852. In the decades preceding the Civil War many free blacks spoke out passionately, opposing slavery through literature and spoken word. Two such works are "What to a Slave is the Fourth of July-, a speech by Fredrick Douglass, and David Walker's Appeal by David Walker. Although written nearly twenty years apart, these two pieces contain many similar aspects. These aspects are seen in both their themes and wording. Douglas' and Walker's pieces can be most easily understood through the comparison of the atrocities they both call attention to and their relationship to the hypocrisy of our religions and government. This then contrasted with the audience they were intended for.
The Church had "made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters- (Douglass). Both Douglass and Walker held the church in great contempt for not only condoning slavery but essentially supporting it. In both pieces many biblical references were made.