Frederick Douglass Statue Toppled on Anniversary of His Famous Anti-Slavery Speech

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A statue of Frederick Douglass, a former enslaved person and abolitionist, was ripped from its base at Maplewood Park in upstate New York Sunday. This appears to be a move in the opposite direction as statues of Confederate figures are being removed, toppled or vandalized across the country as conversations about race continue in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

The statue was later found 50 feet away at the Genesee River gorge with damage to the base and a finger, the Associated Press reported.

This also comes on the 168th anniversary of Douglass’ famous anti-slavery speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” which has gained new momentum in the latest Black Lives Matter movement.

The location of the statue was also significant, as Maplewood Park was a site along the Underground Railroad, where Douglass and Harriet Tubman helped other enslaved people to freedom. Rochester is also the city in which Douglass’ delivered the 1852 speech.

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