About the Author

Kathryn H. Ross is the author of memoir Black Was Not A Label (2019, Pronto) and poetry chapbook Count It All Loss (2021, GoldScriptCo). She writes and edits in Southern California and loves cats and naps. Read her prose, essays, and poetry at speakthewritelanguage.com.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Thank you for this passage! I have very similar sentiments. As a child I celebrated with family as we had cookouts and watched fireworks. Growing and understanding as an adult I just don’t feel as excited to celebrate what the 4th of July means to me as a black woman. I haven’t been excited wearing patriotic clothes. Maybe it’s because the same country that we celebrate doesn’t always appreciate or value our blackness.

  2. Well said. Relatable, too. I think often on both my American, Democratic freedom and my freedom as a black person, and how flimsy both are feeling right now. Most days, I try to embrace being American as the “more important freedom” simply because of it’s perceived benefits… but I tell ya, lately… it has been feeling like the Constitution was written on a napkin and is still in draft. TODAY, however, I naively see my freedom from enslavement likely in the same way the 45th President of the U.S. sees his right to the Oval office: I feel entitled to it. Two different ideologies, one shared sentiment—the scary part of dichotomies in America.

  3. Thank you for your piece, it makes one think about freedom in it’s total. I’m saved and I have been redeemed by accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior. So free to me is to treat everyone as special as He did when He laid down His life for this world when we were not worthy of His sacrifice,but GOD our creator looked at us His (created being) with all the love and mercy in him and said I, we the world was worth the sacrifice of His Son. Our sacrifice is to treat and love others and treat them with kindness and dignity to bring some light in someone else’s darkness. Free to accept when I don’t agree. Thank GOD for freedom. Thank you for this piece from your heart and soul.

  4. Beautiful, just beautifully said! I too am older now and know the difference of the two celebrations. It’s so good to know there is another holiday that Black Americans can call their own, Juneteenth! THANK YOU for the commentary, so many of us identify with these thoughts exactly!

  5. Sometimes I dont feel free. I avoid places in which I feel a sense of racism, I worry about those patriots who line a particular street in Western Palm Beach County rallying for a man with the initials DT and as a Veteran, I resent having to not feel free knowing the fight for freedom wasn’t free for me.

  6. WOW! That was deep!
    I captured so much knowledge and understanding from YOUR Reflection of Juneteenth and Independence Day, it’s wordy of being shared.
    I don’t always feel free neither. 😇

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