WNPR to Honor Independence Day with Independence Daze: A History of July Fourth Airing Sunday, July 5 at 4 p.m.

Release Date: 06/22/2009

Everyone knows that the Fourth of July, also known as America’s Independence Day, celebrates the birth of the United States. But far fewer people are aware of the long, complicated history behind the birth of the holiday itself. To help shed some light on the subject, WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio will be airing Independence Daze: A History of July Fourth on Sunday, July 5 at 4 p.m.

This hour-long special – distributed by the Public Radio Exchange series BackStory with the American History Guys – looks at how Independence Day came to hold such importance to the American people. After all, the holiday was not celebrated in America until the country was almost one hundred years old, and the Declaration of Independence itself was left in a dusty archive for 150 years. Independence Daze’s hosts – the “American History Guys” themselves – examine what caused the dramatic shift in attitude. They also reveal the holiday’s radical roots, look at how the Declaration’s meaning has changed over time, and consider how the Declaration’s messages of liberty and equality have been embraced by descendents of slaves. And, of course, they take calls from listeners wishing to share their own questions, comments and opinions on the subject.

Independence Daze: A History of July Fourth also includes insights from special guests, including Pauline Maier, historian and author of American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence; James Heintze, July Fourth chronicler and author of The Fourth of July Encyclopedia; and David Blight, historian and author of Frederick Douglass’ Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee. These guests will discuss what the Declaration meant to America’s founders, how slaves and abolitionists viewed the holiday, why people celebrate the Fourth with fireworks, and more.

Tune in for all the fun facts and insights – Independence Daze: A History of July Fourth airs July 5 at 4 p.m. on WNPR.

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