Frederick Douglass statue torn down in Rochester, N.Y. on anniversary of famed abolitionist speech

Project leaders say the statue will have to be replaced because of the severe damage it incurred

Grave of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York
Grave of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York
(Joe Sohm / Getty Images)
Updated: July 6, 2020 - 9:01am

A statue of Frederick Douglass was removed from its position in Rochester, New York, on Sunday, the anniversary of the famous abolitionist's celebrated speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July."

Police say the statue was removed from its base near an Underground Railroad site, where Douglass delivered the speech and worked with Harriet Tubman to lead slaves to freedom. 

The statue was found next to the Genesee River gorge, about 50 feet from its base. One of the project leaders who installed the Douglass statue told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle newspaper that the statue will be replaced due to severe damage to the original. 

In his July 5th speech, delivered for the first time in 1852, Douglass called the July 4th celebration of liberty a sham in a country that enslaved and oppressed its Black citizens. 

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