BLACK VOICES
07/04/2017 04:47 pm ET

Colin Kaepernick Celebrates His Quest For True 'Independence' On Trip To Ghana

The outspoken football player explored the contradictions of the Fourth of July for black Americans.
Kaepernick, center, kneels during the national anthem on Jan. 1, 2017. His teammates Eli Harold, left, and Eric Reid, right,
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images
Kaepernick, center, kneels during the national anthem on Jan. 1, 2017. His teammates Eli Harold, left, and Eric Reid, right, joined him.

In an Independence Day message, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick questioned the value the Fourth of July holds for black Americans, since the United States was founded on the backs of African-American slaves.

“How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs?” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter.

He instead touted the liberating effects of a recent visit to what appeared to be Ghana.

“To find my independence I went home,” he finished the tweet.

A minute-long video Kaepernick included in the tweet shows various clips from a trip he took with his partner Nessa Diab: villagers welcoming him as he helps them with a building project, a visit to a municipal hospital in the city of Keta, and footage of a European-built slave-trader castle on Ghana’s coast.

It wasn’t clear from the video if his trip included other countries, or if he would be releasing more footage.

A representative for Kaepernick did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for comment.

Kaepernick’s commentary echoes the famous thoughts of the great author and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, in his famous 1852 speech, “What to the slave is the fourth of July?”

In fact, the video begins with the voice of a narrator reciting one of the speech’s lines: “What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence?”

The remainder of the video is set to the music of Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder’s song “Every Ghetto.”

As a back-up quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick made waves in August 2016 when he began a months-long protest against racial injustice by refusing to stand for the national anthem before games. Initially he sat the anthem out entirely, but after a discussion with an NFL player who served in the military, he changed the gesture to a kneel.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said by way of explaining his decision after the first protest.

The move inspired other football players and student athletes to follow Kaepernick’s model in protest over police brutality toward people of color and other injustices.

Kaepernick also pledged to donate $1 million in charity to underserved communities. As of June, he had given $700,000.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March, becoming a free agent. He has yet to be signed by another team.

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