Frederick Douglass's "What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?" Speech (1852)

By Karen Harris
American orator, abolitionist, writer, and escaped slave, Frederick Douglass (1817–1895). (MPI/Getty Images)

"Do you mean, citizens, to mock me by asking me to speak today?" Frederick Douglass asked the audience during a speech he delivered in 1852. The famed orator, abolitionist, and former slave had developed a reputation as a powerful speaker, but the speech he gave on July 5—titled "What To The Slave Is the Fourth of July?"—was especially poignant.