Chris Rock came under fire Wednesday for a July 4th tweet in which he wished America a “Happy white peoples independence day,” adding: “the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.” Conservatives pounced on the comment, and some even threatened a boycott of Rock’s movies (does the zebra in Madagascar truly have to suffer?”

TheGrio: Chris Rock in July 4th Twitter trouble

Rock’s sentiments reflect the more complicated view of America’s founding fathers held by many African-Americans, many of whom are hard pressed to forget that at the same time the Founders were vying for freedom for the British colonies, Americans held hundreds of thousands of Africans as slaves. Rock clearly isn’t the first person — black or white — to express such mixed sentiments about America’s founding. So what might July 4th look like if Twitter had existed back to the early days of the Republic?