One of 13 statues that were placed around Rochester in 2018, the 200th anniversary of Douglass’ birth, the monument was found next to a river gorge, about 50 feet from its pedestal, said the police. The base and a finger were damaged.
Carvin Eison, who worked on the project that brought the statues to the city, told Democrat & Chronicle: “It is particularly painful that this happened at that time … It is really sad because here in Rochester, the statue of Frédéric Douglass has always been a face of good. ”
The statue will be replaced, he said.
Since the murder of George Floyd, an African-American man in Minneapolis on May 25, sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and structural racism, statues of Confederate leaders and others with Outdated opinions on race have been targeted for protest, vandalism and dismissal.
Donald Trump has placed himself at the head of a counter-movement, defending the Confederate heritage and, during the weekend of July 4, calling for the creation of his own sculpture park, or “National Garden of American Heroes ”, in defiance of the so-called“ far left fascism ”.
Although the perpetrators of the Rochester kidnapping remain unknown, in a Monday morning tweet, Trump said he was showing “these anarchists have no limits!” “And linked to an article from the far right Breitbart News.
Speaking to WROC, Eison asked, “Is this a type of retaliation for the national fever on the Confederate monuments right now?” Very disappointing, it’s more than disappointing. ”
In 2018, two students were arrested for vandalizing another Douglass statue in the city.
Douglass’ views of these monuments were developed in Washington DC, where a statue of Abraham Lincoln and a former slave was the subject of calls for removal.
In a letter from 1876 recently discovered by a historian, Douglas writes: “The negro here, although he rises, is still on his knees and naked. What I want to see before I die is a monument representing the Negro, not lying on his knees like an animal on all fours, but standing on his feet like a man. ”
He also says that the statue of Lincoln is “admirable” and adds: “The simple act of breaking the chains of the negro was the act of Abraham Lincoln and is magnificently expressed in this monument. ”
Douglass escaped from slavery in Maryland in 1838 and eventually made Rochester his home, although he also lived in Washington. He died in 1895 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester.
He delivered his speech of July 4 and slavery on July 5, 1852, two years after the passing of the fugitive slave law and as the nation slipped into disunity and, in 1861, civil war.
Douglass was a fierce activist who in 1855, in another Rochester speech, said, “I would unite with anyone to do good and with no one to do evil.”
But his speech of 1852 was a powerful rebuke of the white American majority, celebrating the 76th anniversary of the independence of Great Britain.
Douglass salutes the revolutionary spirit, stating that “the reformer’s eye encounters flashes of anger, predicting disastrous times”.
He adds: “Line up good, evil, the weak against the strong, and the oppressed against the oppressor!” Therein lies the merit, and the one that, of all the others, seems out of date these days. “But he goes on to say to his white audience, “The blessings you are enjoying today are not shared. The rich heritage of justice, freedom, prosperity and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought you life and healing brought me stripes and death.
“This fourth of July is yours, do not mien. your can rejoice, is must cry. Dragging a man in chains through the great temple of liberty, lit up, and calling him to join you in joyful hymns was inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. ”
For a slave, says Douglass, the annual celebration of America’s independence is “a day which reveals to him, more than any other day of the year, the blatant injustice and the cruelty of which he is the constant victim. “