Last Updated on February 17, 2022
A statue of legendary black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who met with President Abraham Lincoln Lincoln to discuss emancipation and what should follow for African Americans, was torn down in Rochester, New York, as Black Lives Matter riots continue to rage on across the country.
The statue was ripped from its base and then dumped in a nearby gorge, on either July 4 or 5, close to the July 5 anniversary of Douglass’ famous anti-slavery speech in 1852. Douglass’s hands were also damaged during the vandalism.
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary lamented the destruction during a news conference on Monday.
“Certainly disheartening, whether it was out of pure boredom or if it was intentional that someone would damage a statue that resembles someone significant in our country,” Singletary stated.
Frederick Douglass was a runaway slave who moved to Rochester to lead the abolitionist movement.
More recently, however, Douglass has received criticism for holding views that have been described by leftists as “social Darwinism”.
A biographer of Douglass, Waldo Martin, wrote that Douglass once argued that blacks who failed to adjust to civilization following their liberation from slavery would be “treated in the end as cucumbers …, and will in due season perish from the Earth”.
In addition, The Atlantic reports that in 1888 Douglass endorsed a white conservative with ex-Confederate ties over a black progressive candidate in a Republican primary for Congress:
A Republican intra-party contest in an 1888 congressional election in Virginia pitted John Mercer Langston, a progressive black jurist (who had served as the first dean of Howard University Law School), against R. W. Arnold, a white conservative sponsored by a white party boss (who was a former Confederate general). Douglass supported Arnold, and portrayed his decision as high-minded. “The question of color,” he said, “should be entirely subordinated to the greater questions of principles and party expediency.”
In fact, what had mainly moved Douglass was personal animosity; he and Langston had long been bitter rivals. Langston was hardly a paragon, but neither was Douglass. Sometimes he could be a vain, selfish, opportunistic jerk, capable of subordinating political good to personal pique.
For the aforementioned reasons, radical leftists have decided to ‘cancel’ Douglass’s legacy, perhaps explaining the rationale of those behind the destruction of his statue in Rochester.