The statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which was ripped from its base in Rochester, New York state, is believed to have been the first monument in the nation erected to honor a black American (Daily Mail)
It was hacked from its plinth by Maplewood Park on Sunday, the 168th anniversary of one of Douglass’ famous Independence Day speeches – delivered on July 5 in Rochester in 1852.
- Statue of Frederick Douglass was ripped from its base in Rochester, New York
- The statue was found at brink of the Genesee River gorge about 50 feet away
- Statue hit on anniversary of his speech, delivered in that city in 1852 on July 5
- President Trump tweeted that the vandalism proves ‘anarchists have no bounds!’
An obscene assault on Frederick Douglass
By Post Editorial Board, July 6, 2020 |
An obscene assault on Frederick Douglass
A statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was ripped from its base in Rochester on the anniversary of one of his most famous speeches. AP
Even after toppling monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the statue-smashers managed to reach a new height of insanity: Upstate vandals destroyed a statue of Frederick Douglass on the 168th anniversary of his best-known anti-slavery speech.
Maybe that was the point: Douglass’ speech extolled the promise of America outlined in the Declaration of Independence, making him a ripe target for radicals who believe the nation was founded with a stain of racism it can never remove.
Rochester police on Sunday found the shattered statue at the Genesee River gorge, 50 feet from its empty pedestal at Kelsey’s Landing — a stopping-point on the Underground Railroad where Douglass and Harriet Tubman, both former slaves, helped others gain their freedom.
Frederick Douglass statue vandalized in upstate NY park
It was one of many Douglass monuments erected in the city two years ago, in remembrance of his 200th birthday. Douglass is buried in Rochester, where he gave one of his most eloquent speeches, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” on July 5, 1852.
We saw quite a few social-media posts citing that speech over the weekend — but how many posters read beyond its title or the famous lines “This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn”?
Douglass, who in 1838 bravely escaped the slavery into which he’d been born in Maryland, had come to change his mind about the country’s founding documents, eventually arguing — against some fellow abolitionists — that they were vital fodder for the cause.
The Declaration contained “great principles of political freedom and of natural justice,” he noted. Its signers were “brave” and “great” men whose work carried the seeds of slavery’s destruction.
More, he declared, “the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT.”
Those are fighting words to the warriors of the 1619 Project, the New York Times series that falsely claims the United States was founded primarily to promote slavery — lies that clearly animate today’s statue-smashers.
“Knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom,” Douglass once said. Those who claim to share his fight might want to learn a little about the man himself — and why he was a passionate defender of so much that they seek to destroy.
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