It's another hot Independence Day down South -- and once again, for your holiday reading pleasure, Facing South shares two of our favorite pieces in celebration of July 4th:

PATRIOTISM'S SECRET HISTORY
By Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks
The Nation, May 16, 2002

Those who draw on our country's rich history of dissent -- such as today's dissidents against the Iraq war -- are sometimes labeled "unpatriotic." But how many know that the "Pledge of Allegiance" was written by a Christian socialist, "Ballad for Americans" was a favorite of the radical Paul Robeson, and "America the Beautiful" penned by an anti-imperialist poet?

WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS THE 4TH OF JULY?
By Frederick Douglass
July 5, 1852

At a meeting of the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society, the abolitionist leader Douglass delivered a speech that took aim at the pieties of the nation -- the ideals of the independence struggle, its principles of liberty, and its moral and religious foundation -- and contrasted them to the country's unfinished business of ensuring justice for all. What's remarkable is how much of Douglass' address speaks to the unfinished business of today.

Enjoy!