The act of vandalism occurred on the 168th anniversary of Douglass’s speech titled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” which was delivered in Rochester.
The statue was ripped from its foundation in Maplewood Park and thrown over a fence, the Rochester Police Department said in a statement. It was found about 50 feet from its pedestal. One of the fingers on the statue’s left hand was damaged, as was the bottom. It was being repaired.
There was no graffiti on the statue or in the surrounding park.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing, a city spokeswoman told The Epoch Times on July 6.
Thirteen statues of Douglass were placed around the city two years ago as part of a city-wide celebration of Douglass’s birth. Two men who said they were drunk tore down one of them shortly after it was put up; they were later convicted of criminal mischief.
The Rev. Julius Jackson Jr., who was there for the first incident, told WROC that he hopes the more recent one is a similar situation.
“I would like to believe it’s not that, it was just some kids. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s some retaliatory, something going on,” he said.
Carvin Eison, project director for Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass, speculated that the vandalism might be connected to “the national fever over confederate monuments right now.”
He called for immediately returning a monument to where the Douglass statue was.
Douglass, who was born in 1818 a slave, escaped when he was young and became a leading abolitionist, working to end slavery. He lived in Rochester from 1847 to 1872.
Described by some as the most influential African American leader in the nation in the decades following the Civil War, Douglass was named by President Donald Trump as one of a number of figures he wants statues of included in a new monument showcasing American heroes.
Trump weighed in July 6 on the statue being vandalized, writing on Twitter: “This shows that these anarchists have no bounds!”