- Police in Rochester, New York, found a statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass removed from its base in Maplewood Park on Sunday.
- The statue had been disposed of by a nearby river gorge, and police are investigating the incident.
- Douglass gave his famed “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech in Rochester, New York, on July 5, 1852.
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A statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was found torn from its base and disposed of 50 feet away in Rochester, New York, on Sunday.
The statue was vandalised on the anniversary weekend of Douglass’famed July 4 speech, which he delivered in the city 168 years ago.
Police found the statue thrown near the Genesee River gorge about 50 feet away from where the statue was originally standing in Maplewood Park, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. The only damage to the statue was to its base and a finger on its left hand.
No arrests have been made in the incident, and the damage is under investigation. President Donald Trump blamed “anarchists” who “have no bounds.”
Douglass delivered his famed “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” speech in Rochester, New York, on July 5, 1852, at an event held by the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society.
Douglass, who escaped slavery in 1838, said that he chose to mourn on July 4.
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” Douglass said. “To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy licence; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”
The speech has been widely shared on social media again this year, as the debate over systemic racism in the US that has continued amid Black Lives Matter protests.
Carvin Eison, the project director of Rochester’s Re-Energize the Legacy of Frederick Douglass, told the WHEC that the statue of Douglass was too damaged to be put back up.
He told WROC that he was concerned the statue was vandalised in “retaliation,” over current calls for Confederate statues to be removed across the country.
“Very disappointing, it’s beyond disappointing,” he said.
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