Pictorial Reflections on July 4th Celebrations

 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Independence Day an official federal holiday in 1941. The Fourth of July has taken on many forms in various geographic areas of the country since the first commemoration on July 4, 1777. Rural settings celebrations had neighborhood potlucks with group games such as potato sack and three-legged races. Families enjoyed visiting and rarely were there fireworks. But time away from daily chores made the day just as exciting. The mayor or some other dignitary read the Declaration of Independence and other well-known speeches of our forefathers. People hung on every word. Then exploded with applause when the recitations were finished. Patriot music commemorate the day.

I’ve collected some photos of July 4th celebration throughout history.  It’s fun to see how the holiday has evolved.

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Some things never change.

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ripley 4th 1890s

Early 1900s parade.

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Notice the greased pig  and slippery pole contests.

1 Grand Army of the Republin in Parade

Civil War Veterans march in a parade circa 1890s

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A women’s foot race early 1900s.

Fourth of July celebration, hurdle race (colored)

Hurdle race at an African American celebration. Looks painful.

Check out the photos below. Children portraying the fife and drum players from the revolutionary war often were parts of parades during my childhood. Not the tricycles in the last group. Bike parades around a neighborhood were not uncommon in the 1950s and 1960s. The other two picture are taken decades earlier.

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Uncle Sam appeared in every 4th of July celebration.

Ben Shahn - At the July 4th celebration, Ashville, Ohio, 1938

What decade do you think this is?

 

Parade photo

Parades still continue to mark the day.

 

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Do you recall all the Independence Day fun you’ve enjoyed? Don’t forget to take a moment to thank God for the freedom you have.

 

 

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