He was a black Republican who freed slaves and recruited over 10,000 black slaves to fight alongside Union soldiers in the Civil War. Yesterday, it was discovered that a statue honoring the great Frederick Douglass was removed from a park in Rochester, NY.

According to WXXI News – Rochester Police are investigating damage done to a statue of Frederick Douglass in Maplewood Park. It happened over the weekend, and police say that the statue was torn off its base, and left about 50 feet from its pedestal. The statue had been placed over the fence to Genesee River gorge and was leaning against the fence.

Western Journal – Many people may not realize that one of the champions in the fight for African American rights was a “black, dyed in the wool Republican” by his own account.

In remarks at the White House on Tuesday, President Donald Trump describedabolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass as a “great American icon,” noting his 200th birthday to be celebrated on Feb. 14.

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Douglass was a lifelong member of the GOP and strongly supported two of its most prominent presidents — Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant — in their efforts to secure the rights of black Americans.

In one of his most celebrated speeches entitled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” in 1852, Douglass said, “(Y)ou hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” he said, but then pointed out that “you” also hold on to slavery.

He continued, “The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism (as in constitutional republic) as a sham, your humanity as a base pretense, and your Christianity as a lie.”

Following Lincoln’s issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Douglass’ mission changed from abolitionist to recruiter. He now traveled town-to-town, church-to-church, anywhere people could be gathered, and encouraged the young black men to join the Union ranks and fight for the cause of freedom.

Black men heeded Douglass’ call. By the end of the war, 180,000 had served, making up 10 percent of the Union’s ranks.

The incident happened on the same weekend that some local and national organizations have marked the 168th anniversary the speech the famed abolitionist delivered on July 5, 1882, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,”  which asks all Americans to consider the country’s long history of denying equal rights to Black people.

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That speech was delivered at Corinthian Hall in Rochester. Douglass had lived in the city for a number of years and is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

The statue that was damaged this weekend is one of 13 Douglass statues that were placed around Rochester in 2018 in honor of his 200th birthday.


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