Updated: July 06, 2020 03:14 PM
Created: July 05, 2020 12:52 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y (WHEC) — The Frederick Douglass statue at the Maplewood Rose Garden was torn off its pedestal and damaged, according to police.
The Rochester Police Department responded to Maplewood Park for the report of damage to city property on Sunday. Upon arrival, officers found a Fredrick Douglass statue that had been removed from its base which caused damage to the base and statue.
Police say they found the statue approximately 50 feet from the damaged pedestal. In addition to the damage at the bottom of the statue, one finger on the left hand was damaged. Aside from the damage, there was no additional graffiti to the statue or to the park.
The statue is owned by the RCTV Media Center.
The incident comes on the anniversary of Douglass' famous "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July" speech, given in Rochester in 1852.
Douglass delivered the speech at Corinthian Hall in Rochester.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture says the speech acknowledges the founding fathers for their commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while still acknowledging the fact that those same ideals were not extended to enslaved people in the United States.
Douglass said in the speech that for African Americans, the holiday does not have the same meaning.
"I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn."
That the vandalism was discovered on this date hit one activist hard.
"To be given the news today that our monument, one of our monuments has been desecrated, knocked off its pedestal and removed is more painful than I could tell," said Carvin Eison, the Project Director of Re-Energize the Legacy of Frederick Douglass.
Multiple national leaders, including President Donald Trump, have taken to Twitter to express their discontent over the vandalism.
The statue has been moved for repairs.
The criminal mischief investigation is ongoing.
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