I used to play a lot of email chess against an older gentleman from England. We used to talk about a lot of different topics, and pretty much nothing was off limits, though we're talking about political and religious topics.

Then one day he surprised me with an intriguing question: Do black people celebrate the 4th of July holiday?

I had to think about that one a little bit. Believe it or not, this isn't such a cut and dry answer as most of America, that non-minority part, would believe.

Think about it this way. When Independence Day came about, black people were slaves. So, there was no independence for them. When the Constitution was adopted, there was a provision in there which made black people 2/3rds of a person; that's gone now. When the Civil War was over, black people, in essence, were still slaves. Sure, they weren't slaves in the southern states, but those states that were above the Mason-Dixon line still had slaves for awhile.

It wasn't until July 28, 1868, that the 14th amendment was approved, and even then it was only ratified by 28 of the 37 States at the time, which was enough for it to pass. If anything, black people should be celebrating every July 28th as their independence day in America.

Still, there are two other points to consider. One, how many people in today's world really celebrate all that many holidays? Most people call having a holiday where they can drink a lot of liquor celebrating the holiday; that's not quite the reason we get those days off.

Probably the only holiday where a lot of people actually celebrate anything related to the holiday is Christmas. Thanksgiving, most of us think about eating a big meal, but there's no big ceremonies for it. The 4th of July has parades, but they're not well attended anymore in most communities, and most people sit around drinking; it's the most unsafe holiday for driving. Most people have no idea why we celebrate Labor Day or Memorial Day. Mainly black people celebrate the King holiday, as not every state even has that day off. I'm only counting holidays where we actually get a day off, just so you know.

Two, is it fair to have a blanket statement, taking the above into account, if it's not only black people who potentially aren't doing much celebrating on the holiday? For that matter, is it even true?

I gave a different answer to my friend than the one I'm going to give here. For us here, I'll say a couple of things. One, my dad was a military man, so I tend to celebrate holidays, in my own way, that have something to do with veterans, or those who served. Two, in my mind, the most important thing for me tomorrow is to watch the Wimbledon women's tennis finals with the Williams sisters.

After that,... well, it's going to be a long day, and I'll probably be working. I guess that's about as independent as I can be.