This July 4, while millions were preparing for fireworks and celebrations, the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly held a rally to combat the racist legacy of slavery. Committed activists gathered in a park in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore to speak out against racism, demand that Confederate monuments be removed, and finally burn the Confederate flag.
Thrust into the national spotlight again after the racist massacre of nine Black people in a church in South Carolina on June 17, the Confederate flag has been the object of many progressive protests around the country. It has also attracted support from reactionaries and racists.
In Dundalk, a suburb of Baltimore, many Confederate flags were displayed at a local “heritage festival” on July 3 — to the horror of Dundalk’s Black residents. There have also been reports of an increase in Confederate flags flying on trucks throughout the region. These events represent, however, only some of the latest in the racist campaign of terror against Black America unleashed by the terrorist attack in Charleston.
In light of these national tragedies, the Baltimore PPA demanded at the rally that the city government remove all monuments in the city that honor the Confederacy. This city is 70 percent Black and historically one of the largest free Black cities during the era of slavery. That it still has nine monuments that honor Confederate figures is a disgrace and offensive to the Black community.
Maryland has many great Black daughters and sons who deserve to be honored in Baltimore, such as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
Before burning the Confederate flag, activists highlighted the criminal nature of racism in the United States by reading an excerpt from Frederick Douglass’ famous speech, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”
The action concluded with activists dousing the racist flag with lighter fluid and setting it alight to the sound of vengeful and hopeful cheers.
Photo: Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly burns Confederate flag on July 4.
WW photo: Sharon Black