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Statue Honoring Frederick Douglass in His Home City Toppled on Anniversary of His Famous Speech


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Protests over the horrific police killing of George Floyd infamously devolved into riots and looting that destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and even black monuments. The iconoclastic vandals who began by toppling Confederate monuments moved on to defacing statues of America’s Founders, Indian nationalists like Mahatma Gandhi, and even a monument to the 54th Massachusetts regiment, the first black volunteers to fight for the Union in the Civil War. Yet one of the most grotesque acts of vandalism came on Sunday when vandals toppled a statue of former slave Frederick Douglass in Rochester, N.Y.


Vandals somehow removed the Douglass statue from its base and dropped it near the Genessee River gorge, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Located in Maplewood Park, the statue “had been placed over the fence to the gorge and was leaning against the fence” on the side of the river, Rochester police said in a statement. Authorities found the statue about 50 feet from its pedestal.

The vandals dislodged the statue exactly 168 years after Douglass delivered one of his most important speeches. He delivered “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” on July 5, 1852, speaking to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society at Corinthian Hall in Rochester. Douglass, who escaped slavery in 1838 and settled in Rochester, lamented the horrific institution and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The black community in Rochester celebrated American independence on July 5, rather than July 4.:snip:

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