Rochester, N.Y. — A statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was ripped from its base in Rochester on the anniversary of one of his most famous speeches, delivered in the city in 1852.
Police said the statue was taken on Sunday from Maplewood Park, a site along the Underground Railroad where Douglass and Harriet Tubman helped shuttle slaves to freedom.
The statue was found at the brink of the Genesee River gorge about 50 feet from its pedestal, police said. There was damage to the base and a finger.Frederick Douglass' admonition on the moral rightness of liberty for all
Eison and others involved in the monument's creation believe the current national focus on race could have played a role in the vandalism.
"Is this some type of retaliation because of the national fever over Confederate monuments right now? Very disappointing, it's beyond disappointing," Eison observed to CBS Rochester affiliate WROC-TV.
"I feel (we should) put a monument back here immediately so whoever did this knows that we are not going to be deterred from what our objective is, and our objective is to continually celebrate Frederick Douglass," said Eison.
The statue was one of 13 placed throughout the city in 2018, and this was the second monument to be vandalized, WROC notes.
Reverand Julius Jackson Jr. was there for the first incident, which involved drunk college students, and he is hoping the latest act is also one of unintended mischief.
"We've been down this road before I actually spoke to the vandals of the first one," he told WROC. "I would like to believe it's not that, it was just some kids. But it wouldn't surprise me if it's some retaliatory, something going on."
Eison said, "They can topple over this monument, they could go topple over all of them, this monument will still stand because the ideas behind it are bigger than the monument."