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Fourth of July parade, 1941
Fourth of July parade, Watertown, Wisconsin, 1941

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Independence Day: Americans Celebrate the Birth of Their Nation
July 4, 1776

In 1859, still in the days of slavery, the Banneker Institute of Philadelphia urged African Americans to celebrate Independence Day, even though it recognized that the ideals of the Declaration of Independence were in conflict with the practice of slavery. Nonetheless, the institute expressed the hope that soon, "our long lost rights will be restored to us."

The Fourth of July became a legal holiday in 1941. Every year the celebration of the American ideal that--"all Men are created equal"--continues. How do you celebrate Independence Day?

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