They Questioned The American Value Of Freedom

Enslaved black people in the South of the United States
Via Flickr
Emeka Ochiagha
August 30, 2021

Black people came together, free and enslaved, to put a powerful plan in motion. 

They’d heard all the arguments for freedom and equality in the American struggle against the British – but where was the freedom for Black people? They were tired of the hypocrisy, and decided to make it known.

In 1777, a year after the Declaration of Independence, a petition was constructed and sent to the Massachusetts General Court.  

It made very clear that the American struggle for freedom also meant that slavery was incompatible with the new country’s values! Black liberation had to be part of the larger campaign for freedom.

They had also embedded Christian language to the petition. Not only did America contradict itself when it came to freedom, it contradicted the values of its own foundational religion. This made the pursuit for Black freedom both a legislative and spiritual endeavour.

“Every principle from which America has acted in the course of their unhappy difficulties with Great Britain pleads stronger than a thousand arguments in favour of [the anti-slavery] petitioners,” they wrote

Laced in their words were all their hopes for a better, brighter future.

Their petition was ignored, of course – a clear sign that these American values of freedom and liberty did not include us then – and, to many, they still don’t.

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