Thousands of people marched through downtown Minneapolis on Saturday night to speak out against racial injustice, and to commemorate Frederick Douglass' 1852 speech "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?"
"We're really bringing attention to the hypocrisy of the holiday and how many of us were not independent,” Tayo Daniel, co-founder of the 10K Foundation, said before the Black 4th march. “Our grandparents, our ancestors were not independent. Quite the opposite, we were actually in chains, being beaten and oppressed during the time of the Declaration of Independence."
Ellen Reed and Yariah Myers, both of Coon Rapids, Minn., joined the crowd gathered in front of U.S. Bank Stadium for a rally before the march. The mother and daughter said it was important to show up and do what they can to make a difference following the police killing of George Floyd.
“Being out here on a day when people want to celebrate when we don’t have much to celebrate is important,” said Myers, 21.
“We believe Black lives matter,” Reed added.
After the rally, the mostly silent marchers wound through downtown Minneapolis, with some carrying signs and others dragging metal chains behind them. They stopped to kneel for 46 seconds at the intersection of North Seventh Street and North First Avenue to honor those killed by police. They staged a die-in in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and unfurled a sign that read “sovereignty.” Eventually, demonstrators crossed the Stone Arch Bridge to gather for a festival with music, food and fireworks at St. Anthony Main.
“Every time we assemble this way and we decide to occupy a public space, and we decide to do it together in large numbers, we are in a renegotiation with the state,” 10K Foundation co-founder Royce White said. “We are renegotiating the terms of the social contract with the state.”
The nonprofit also plans to march from Mall of America to 38th and Chicago at noon Sunday. Saying the Fourth of July march was “to signal the death of the old false holiday,” White called on demonstrators to join them to “start again with something positive on July 5 to signal the new America.”