Frederick Douglass Statue Torn Down on Anniversary of His Speech Condemning Slavery
Monument of American abolitionist who fought slavery is toppled
A statue of Frederick Douglass, the American abolitionist who fought against slavery, was vandalized and torn down by protestors in upstate New York on Sunday.
The statue was toppled on the 168th anniversary of Douglass's seminal speech condemning slavery.
The statue was taken from Maplewood Park and carried about 50 feet to a site near the Genesee River gorge, police said as per The Associated Press.
The base, a finger, and the lower part of the statue were reportedly damaged.
Carvin Eison, the project leader that brought the Douglas statue to the park said that another statue would have to take its place because the damage was too significant to repair.
"It's particularly painful that it happened at this time," Eison told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
"It's really sad because here in Rochester, the statue of Frederick Douglass has always been a face of good."
But the motive is not clear, as Douglass was known to have fought against slavery.
In 1852, Douglass delivered one of his most famous speeches on July 5, in Rochester.
A Frederick Douglas statue in Maplewood Park was removed from its base overnight. pic.twitter.com/J43hqxuHTT— Atyia Collins (@Atyia_Collins) July 5, 2020
The speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” questioned the Fourth of July celebration of freedom and liberty in a nation that enslaved people.
"What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?" he asked while speaking before the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society.
"Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?...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."
A group of Douglass's descendants read the speech for a video released by NPR over the weekend.
The descendants of Douglass also reflected on the speech, which was timely amid the nationwide protests in response to the May 25 death of George Floyd.
Last month, a statue of Col. Hans Christian Heg, a Norwegian immigrant who died fighting against slavery, was vandalized before being torn down by Black Lives Matter protesters in Madison, Wisconsin.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in June to protect America's historic public statues and monuments from being damaged or destroyed by far-left and anarchist protesters.
"We are going to do an executive order and make the cities guard their monuments," Trump told Eternal Word Television Network host Raymond Arroyo.
"This is a disgrace," the president added.