In the state of New York, a monument to the fighter for the liberation of black slaves, Frederick Douglas, who lived in the XIX century, was felled. No one took responsibility.
The statue, erected in a park in the small town of Rochester, was knocked down from a pedestal, dragged about 50 feet and left on the banks of the river, the local police said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump said Monday that the monument was damaged by “coastal anarchists” and posted a link to news material from the alternative to the right-wing Breitbart News website.
At the same time, among activists of the anti-racism movement, many are inclined to believe that an attack on a monument can be an act of retaliation for statues dropped by participants in anti-racist protests.
Rochester police are investigating and have not yet identified any suspects. No one took responsibility for the incident.
After the death of African-American George Floyd, suffocating when a white policeman pressed his neck with his knee to the ground, mass protests erupted in the United States, often accompanied by the spontaneous demolition of monuments that are associated with European colonialism or slavery. A number of sculptures of figures of the past, associated with the idea of white superiority, were also decided to be removed with the consent of local authorities.
Among others, these are soldiers and generals of the Confederate army, who fought for the preservation of the institution of slavery in the United States during the Civil War of 1861-65, as well as European discoverers, in particular Christopher Columbus.
The fallen statue is made of plastic and is a copy of the bronze monument to Douglas, standing in Rochester since 1899. In 2018, as part of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Douglas, the city decided to install 12 more copies of it (one of them was also soon attacked by vandals).
Therefore, there is a supply of Douglas statues in Rochester, and replacing the sculpture will not be difficult, said Carvey Eason, author of the project to perpetuate the memory of the abolitionist.
Who is Frederick Douglas
The figure of Frederick Douglas could have been targeted because the Democrats in the US House of Representatives recently voted to name the state that is proposed to be formed on the site of the current federal capital of Washington.
The bill provides for not only the recognition of the District of Columbia by the 51st US state, but also its renaming into the “Commonwealth of Washington, Douglas” – in honor of the first US president George Washington and Frederick Douglas.
Douglas was a runaway slave, learned to read, published a newspaper, became a politician thanks to his oratory, and devoted his life to defending the rights of blacks. In particular, he was one of the main participants in the “underground railway” – a network for the removal of runaway slaves to the states where slavery was prohibited, or to Canada. From 1847 to 1872 he lived in Rochester, where he also arranged one of the transshipment points of the “railway”.
Douglas wrote several memoirs. The Tale of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave (1845), became a bestseller, like his other writings, My Slavery, My Freedom (1855).
Sunday was the anniversary of his famous speech of 1852, in which he asked: “For the American slave, what is your Fourth of July?”
“The day that reveals to him is greater than all other days of the year, the great injustice and cruelty of which he constantly becomes a victim,” Douglas told himself.