This coming Thursday is July the 4th, also known as Independence Day. There are lots of fun ways to observe this US national holiday – here’s a round-up of resources to help you make the most of your celebration.
Just a quick note about hours – due to the holiday, all campus libraries will be closed on Thursday, July 4th. So if you want to check out a book or movie to get in the spirit of things, make sure you do it before Thursday! We’ll be back on Friday, July 5th for our regular summer hours.
Historical and Educational Resources
July 4th is a celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the full text of which can be found online via Credo Reference. There’s also an entry in the Encyclopedia of American Studies on the Fourth of July itself. For more information about the Declaration of Independence, the people who developed it, and the American Revolutionary War in general, you can check out some of the following books:
The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89 by Edward S. Morgan
Revolutionary America, 1763-1815 : a Sourcebook edited by Francis D. Cogliano
The Invention of George Washington by Paul K. Longmore
The Women of the American Revolution by Elizabeth F. Ellet
“Strong and Brave Fellows” : New Hampshire’s Black Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution, 1775-1784 by Glenn A. Knoblock
Founding Friendship : George Washington, James Madison, and the Creation of the American Republic by Stuart Leibiger
The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood
As with many holidays in the US, food is a major part of July 4th celebrations. Grilling food outside and cooking over open flames are especially appropriate for the midst of summer – check out one of these cookbooks to get fired up about your July 4th feast. Just remember to be careful and observe fire safety rules!
After you’ve got your plate heaped with food, you might want to kick back with a movie, whether it be related to American history, takes place on the 4th of July, or is just about baseball, America’s pasttime. The movies below all fall into at least one of these categories. If you took advantage of any of the books above, maybe you can spot some inaccuracies in the historical films.
And of course, don’t forget the best July 4th movie of all time: Independence Day.
If you’re not throwing your own party, there are plenty of local events for you to attend instead. July4th.net is the online home of the Champaign County Freedom Celebration, which has information about a parade, an evening entertainment lineup, and a fireworks display. The Champaign County Park District will also have 4th of July festivities at the Sholem Aquatic Center, including face-painting and a watermelon eating contest. If you’re willing to travel a little, the Champaign County Forest Preserve is also having a Freedom Fest in Mahomet, Illinois.
Going to a public display is the best way to enjoy fireworks on the 4th of July – be safe and remember that using fireworks on your own could get you into a lot of trouble.
We hope this collection is helpful to you in your celebration! If you have any other ideas for ways to enjoy the holiday, feel free to share them in the comments, and have a wonderful Independence Day.