July 4th 2017
Of all the images that struck me amid my 4th of July peregrinations this year, I believe the most poignant was this troupe of African American dancers (no photo). Amid the thousands of us preparing to march the parade in the white white white seaside town of Bristol, R.I., I came upon them poised motionless, striking a pose with viper-like fierceness. In that moment they were motionless and it was breathtaking. When a nearby drum corps sounded off, they exploded into a fury of dancing with heart and talent and might. Such a doggedly determined show of loyalty -to a country that has pretty much SHIT on entire swaths of its citizens- really moved me.
In their honor, here is the little known unofficial *fifth* verse of the Star Spangled Banner which -instead of literally glorifying the death of slaves in battle- instead decries “the enemy from within” (slavery and those who would defend it) and hails a nation full of “millions unchained”: