A statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was torn down by protesters in Rochester, New York, and suffered such significant damage that it will have to be replaced, The Democrat & Chronicle reported. This is at least the second incident in a matter of days in which a statue that in no way honors racism has been vandalized.
At some point over the Independence Day weekend, one or more vandals toppled the statue from its base and then moved it about 50 feet to a nearby gorge. There, according to police, it was left leaning against the side of the fence.
So damaged was the statue that it cannot be repaired, and it will likely have to be replaced.
The site of the statue was also the site of Kelsey’s Landing, a stop on the Underground Railroad from which Douglass, along with Harriet Tubman and others, would help escaped slaves make their way to freedom.
As of this writing, police have no suspects, although the newspaper reports that the scuttlebutt on social media seems to suggest that many people around Rochester seem to believe there is a political connection to the vandalism.
Indeed, the timing of the vandalism coincides with a famous speech Douglass had given. Douglass, who escaped slavery in 1838 and eventually made his way to the upstate New York city, would spend about three decades there. And on July 4, 1852, he gave what might possibly be his most famous speech. Speaking to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society at Corinthian Hall in downtown Rochester, Douglass delivered the speech, “What to the Slave is the 4th of July.”
“Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn,” he said at the time.
Carvin Eison, a leader of the project that brought the statues to the city, certainly noted the connection to the time frame of the vandalism.
“It’s particularly painful that it happened at this time,” Eison said.
Eison also suggests that the vandalism of the statue may have been some sort of retaliation. He notes that there has been a “national fervor” lately surrounding removing statues honoring Confederate fighters, and that this may have been carried out as payback.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, last week vandals spray-painted the words “Racist Fish” on Copenhagen’s statue of The Little Mermaid, the most famous work by the city’s native son, Hans Christian Andersen.