Statue of anti-slavery hero Frederick Douglass vandalized; ‘they’re not going to stop, folks’

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During the Independence Day weekend, vandals with an abysmal knowledge of American history dragged a statue of world-famous abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass from its base and left it leaning on a fence about 50 feet away.

The incident occurred in Rochester, New York’s Maplewood Park near the Genesee River.

Frederick Douglass escaped slavery in Maryland and lived in Rochester for about 30 years where he campaigned against slavery and for equal rights and started the highly influential anti-slavery newspaper The North Star. Historians consider him the father of the modern civil rights movement.

The statue sustained damage to its base and to its left hand, although it was free of graffiti.

A police investigation is ongoing. So far, authorities have yet to identify any suspects.

“There is historical significance to the timing of the vandalism — though no one can now say whether the timing was mere happenstance — just as there is historical significance to the statue’s very location. The Maplewood Park location includes Kelsey’s Landing, where Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and others helped shuttle slaves to safety along the Underground Railroad,” the Democrat & Chronicle  of Rochester explained.

The  statue desecration occurred on the 168th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ famous speech called “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” which he delivered in downtown Rochester at the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society.

Douglass was a lifelong Republican who supported Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. “I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress,” he allegedly said at one point in his illustrious career.

“In the 1852 speech, Douglass credited the signers of the Declaration of Independence as ‘brave’ and ‘great’ men but called out the hypocrisy of celebrating the Fourth of July as a day of freedom while slaves were not free,” the Democrat & Chronicle recalled.

Although the monument is being repaired, the damage to the Frederick Douglass statue is reportedly extensive enough that it may have to replaced.

The legacy of Douglass, the first African-American in the country to be memorialized by a statue, is honored throughout Rochester with many other effigies. Douglas, who died in 1895, is buried in the city’s Mt. Hope Cemetery.

On Friday, during his Independence Day rally at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, President Trump announced that he signed an executive order creating a new national monument called the National Garden of American Heroes.

To be included among these historical figures are Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington, the Wright Brothers, Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, Dolly Madison, Ronald Reagan, George Patton, Antonin Scalia, Clara Barton, among others.

During his speech, the president condemned the binge of  toppling and destruction of historical monuments by left-wing anarchists in recent weeks of civil unrest.

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Robert Jonathan

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