Frederick Douglass statue torn down in New York

The statue was erected in 2018, along with 12 others.

The Frederick Douglass Statue in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol Visitors Center, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A statue of abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, was vandalized in Rochester, New York on Sunday.

The statue was taken down from Maplewood Park, a site along the Underground Railroad where Douglass and Harriet Tubman helped shuttle slaves to freedom.

Sunday was the anniversary of Douglass’ his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July.” Douglass delivered the speech in Rochester.

The statue was found near the edge of the Genesee River Gorge, about 50 feet from its pedestal, police told Rochester First. There was damage to the base and a finger.

READ MORE: Maryland legislators unveil bronze statues of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass

The statue was erected in 2018 along with 12 others. Leaders involved with having the monument erected believe that the current national focus on race could have played a role in this.

“What comes of this? Is this some type of retaliation because of the national fever over confederate monuments right now? Very disappointing – it’s beyond disappointing,” said Carvin Eison, project director of Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass, the organization responsible for placing statues of Douglass across Rochester.

The monument is currently being repaired.

“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?,” remains one of Douglass’ most iconic speeches. This year, five young descendants of his read the speech on video in a production by NPR.

READ MORE: Frederick Douglass descendants deliver his famed speech: ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July’

In the speech, Douglass interrogated the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, to enslaved African Americans experiencing grave inequality and injustice. “Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?”


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