Frederick Douglass Statue Vandalized On The Anniversary Of His Speech ‘What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?’

Written by K. Walker on July 6, 2020

This is proof that these “protesters” are historically illiterate and this movement isn’t about black lives mattering anymore.

Over the Independence Day weekend, the statue of former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass was toppled from its base and dragged to a nearby river.

The statue had been located in Maplewood Park, Rochester, New York, which includes Kelsey’s Landing near Lower Falls on the Genessee River. Kelsey’s Landing has been added to the National Parks Service’s “Network to Freedom” program to preserve the history of the Underground Railroad. It was here that Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman guided slaves to freedom on the final part of their journey.

But the leftwing mob doesn’t think that a freed slave who risked his very life to save others is worth remembering, apparently.

According to Rochester police, the statue was dragged around 50 feet from its base and found damaged near the Genessee River gorge. It had been hauled over the fence to the gorge and was leaning against the fence on the river side.

The base and lower part of the statue was damaged as well as a finger on the left hand.

It’s not just that famed abolitionist and one of the greatest orators in American history has had his statue defaced, it was that it was also done on the anniversary of one of his most famous speeches.

Douglass was invited to give an Independence Day oration to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester but declined to do so on July 4th, and instead gave the speech the next day.

On July 5, 1852, Douglass gave the speech that many are sharing on social media today because people believe it to be an excoriation that the founders were hypocrites for not freeing slaves when they freed themselves.

Douglass, a former slave, delivered the speech to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society at Corinthian Hall in downtown Rochester. He told the listeners there and beyond that the country could not lay claim to the purest of ideals while willingly enslaving and oppressing its black citizens…

…In the 1852 speech, Douglass credited the signers of the Declaration of Independence as “brave” and “great” men but called out the hypocrisy of celebrating the Fourth of July as a day of freedom while slaves were not free.

Independence Day to a slave, Douglass said, is “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”

Douglass, who escaped slavery in Maryland in 1838 and settled in Rochester for about 30 years, said in the speech that the celebration of liberty and citizenship were offensive to the enslaved population.

“Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

Source: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

But to stop here doesn’t give the true perspective on what that speech really was. It was a snapshot in time which Douglass himself admits.

First, it should be noted that an early draft of the Declaration of Independence that was written by that notorious slaveholder Thomas Jefferson, included a paragraph that condemned the practice of chattel slavery and was hotly debated and ultimately removed to appease slaveholding southern states as well as some northern states who were profiting from the practice. Several founders wanted to abolish slavery and recognized the hypocrisy of wanting to be free from the tyranny of England while still holding people as property, however, it was not possible to declare independence without dropping the paragraph much to the dismay of the many abolitionists in the Continental Congress because of resistance from delegates from South Carolina and Georgia.

Next, Douglass didn’t end his speech in despair, he ended it with hope for his country and respect for its institutions and the “genius” of American institutions. This is the part of the speech that people fail to share.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. 

Source: Teaching American History (Emphasis Added)

It’s quite ironic that Douglass’s words are being shared without including the hopeful portion and his statue is being toppled.

Here are a few of Douglass’s descendants reading a portion of his speech.

Douglass’s descendants seem to get it.

We should all have that same hope.

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ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll