Reading List

Five perspectives for Independence Day

We believe that true patriotism isn’t “my country, right or wrong.” It’s “my country… if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

In short, loving this country means taking constant, inclusive responsibility for the good, the bad, and the ugly of our past, present, and possible futures.

We’re sharing some voices from around the country—well-known and unsung—to help you reflect on what it means now to be American.



Opinion: Inclusion is patriotism of the highest order

Darren Walker | The Washington Post

“Hope is the oxygen of democracy. Everything we try should be aimed at helping to ensure that all people can live with dignity, participate in the systems that give order and meaning to their lives, and rise as high as their talent will take them.” Read →


Do American Indians Celebrate the 4th of July?

Indian Country Today

“Does it mean we are to forget our struggles and the plight of our people? No, but it commemorates the beauty of our land and the resolve of this nation we call America.” Read →


Loving Your Country Means Teaching Its History Honestly

David French | Time

“Had I rooted my love of country in the greatness of American history—and there is undeniable greatness—then learning the sheer extent of post-Civil War violent racial oppression would have been deeply disorienting. And it is often disorienting to those who are not taught to stare history in the face, to confront evil and cowardice even as we celebrate virtue and courage.” Read →


What does it mean to be a Black American on July 4th? We asked 12 community leaders.

Capital Gazette

“Within me flows the blood of those driven out and dragged over against their will and all odds. Their sacrifice, love and foresight forge my fight. In these perilous times, I must apply disciplined enragement and engagement. I carry their torch, divinely guided for the future of America. This is my country and humbled obligation.” Read →


Theodore R. Johnson on Racism’s Existential Threat to the Promise of America

Theodore R. Johnson | Lit Hub

“Though they recognized that slavery was incompatible with the newly declared self-evident truths, the nation’s framers allowed it to persist. They believed that a practice so inconsistent with the American idea could not endure and destiny would dissolve it.” Read →