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Douglass Statue in Maplewood Park Damaged

Staff reports

The Rochester Police Department is investigating criminal mischief that caused damage to the Frederick Douglass statue in Maplewood Park that happened overnight on July 4.

According to the RPD, officers from Lake Section responded to a report of damage and found that the city-owned statue had been removed from its base, damaging the statue as well as the base.

The statue was approximately 50 feet from its original location to the east of the parking lot for 1 Maplweood/Rose Gardens, and was leaning against the fence on the gorge side.

One of the fingers on the left hand of the statue also was damaged.

The statue was removed and taken for repairs.

There was no graffiti to the statue or the park.

The date is significant because on July 5, 1852, Douglass was invited to speak to a group of white abolitionists in Rochester. In his address, he asked, “What, to the American slave, is the Fourth of July.”

In his speech, Douglass expressed respect for the founders of the republic and said the signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men.

Douglass went on to focus on the present. He told the group reflecting on American independence, “I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us,” he said.

This was the second time a Douglass statue had been vandalized.

In December 2018, two students from St. John Fisher College were charged with vandalizing and attempting to steal the statue that stood on the corner of Alexander and Tracy streets.