A statue in Rochester, New York, dedicated to famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass was torn from its base and found 50 feet away near the Genesee River gorge on Sunday. This happened during the same weekend many Americans shared Douglass’s iconic and ever-timely “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” speech, which he delivered 168 years prior.
According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the statue that once stood in on its base in Maplewood Park “had been placed over the fence to the gorge and was leaning against the fence,” on the river side.
The base, the lower half and a finger on the statue was damaged.
“It’s particularly painful that it happened to this time,” Carvin Eison, the director of the Re-energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass project, told the news site.
Not only was the timing of the vandalism painful, but Maplewood Park is also a significant landmark, being a site along the Underground Railroad where Douglass and Harriet Tubman helped those still enslaved make their way to freedom.
According to Eison, the statue is beyond repair and will have to be replaced.
The vandalism of the statue is under investigation.
“What comes of this? Is this some type of retaliation because of the national fever over confederate monuments right now? Very disappointing—it’s beyond disappointing,” Eison said to WROC.