The U.S. was founded on July 4, 1776, with the decision of 13 British colonies to leave the English Monarchy. That's why the Fourth of July is celebrated as the founding day of the U.S.
The biggest source of America's wealth was slave labor by Blacks, who were forcibly brought from Africa since the 1600s.
Slave labor is behind every penny earned from American soil. According to a study conducted in 2016, Blacks' contribution to the American economy under the slave system, which lasted for about 250 years, amounts to trillions of dollars.
According to some analysts, the existence of the U.S. as we know it would be unthinkable without "systemic slavery."
Slavery was abolished in 1865 in the United States, almost 90 years after July 4, 1776.
As a result of the Civil Rights Movement, Blacks won the right to vote in 1965. However, White Supremacy, which Blacks have been subjected to, has never really gone away. White Americans could not come to terms with the fact that they had the same rights as Blacks.
The murder of African American George Floyd by a white police officer on May 25 led to protests erupting across the country. Another reason for the furore was the fact that Blacks were disproportionately hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as they live in the most crowded areas, which is the legacy of centuries of inequality.
As of today, around 40 million Black Americans of African descent live in the U.S. The Fourth of July is a happy day for White Americans. However, the situation is totally different for Blacks.
African Americans have always been aware that the Fourth of July continued the slave-economy tradition for another 90 years. That's why Black Americans preferred to watch Fourth of July celebrations from the sidelines.
However, celebrations this year seem to be somewhat dimmed. In addition to the virus outbreak, the revolt against discriminatory practices towards African Americans and other People of Color also greatly contribute to the dampening of celebrations this year. The protests, led by the "Black Lives Matter" movement, targeted monuments and other symbols of racist figures or ones involved in slave-trading.
The name of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, who is the architect of the "Fourteen Points," similar to our "National Struggle" principles here in Turkey, including the right to self-determination, was also removed from all public buildings at the prestigious Princeton University, one of the ivy league schools in the U.S.
Considered one of the fathers of liberal American interventionism, Wilson was a politician who did not believe in the equality between races and missed no opportunity to make his position on the matter known.
Wilson, known for his racist policies against Blacks, was the dean of Princeton University for eight years before becoming the President of the United States. Wilson is known for his opposition to Black students being admitted to the university.
In 2016, university students attempted to remove the name Wilson from its School of Public and International Affairs, but the university administration did not respond positively.
In June this year, the administration of the university officially announced that Wilson's name was removed from all public buildings. The name of "Wilson College", the first college of the institution, was changed to "First College". The university administration admitted that racist violence against George Floyd and other Black Americans played a role in this decision, while acknowledging Wilson's part in racism.
In addition to Theodore Roosevelt, who served as U.S. President before Wilson, monuments and statues belonging to many other important figures are also being targeted for the same reasons.
As of now, the U.S. appears to be politically and culturally divided. Both Roosevelt and Wilson were among the figures of the first quarter of the 20th century, dubbed by many as the "American Century.”
Since the outbreak, comments proclaiming the end of the “American Century” have saturated U.S. media. And many American authors are penning articles with titles based on the theme of “Time to Rebuild.” If the “American Century” is indeed over, what will replace it? Will the world find a proper, more humane way, get a more just, more sustainable and more humanized system from the rubble of the chaos to which the U.S. had contributed? Or will it be just another useless mutation of the “same old”? This is the question that needs to be answered.