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Statue of Frederick Douglass — Former Slave and Abolitionist — Torn Down and Damaged in New York



frederick douglass statue

First the confederate flag was taken down across the nation, then statues of confederate soldiers, then statues of anyone with an association to slavery, now…statues of slaves who fought for freedom?

That’s right. The statue of Frederick Douglass, a former slave who fought for abolition and education, was ripped down in Rochester, New York on Sunday. It was removed from its pedestal by unknown vandals and found by authorities nearly 50 feet from its base leaning against a fence next to the Genesee River. The despicable act was carried out on the 168th anniversary of Douglass’s famous “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” speech given in the same town in 1852.

Carvin Eison, a member of the initiative ‘Re-energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass’, the group responsible for putting up the statue, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle another statue will have to be erected as the damage is so severe. He noted it was painful to see “a monument that we put so much work and thought and love and care into” mistreated and vandalized.

“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,” Eison told the local outlet.

The city of Rochester, New York has 13 statues of the abolitionist throughout the city — the memorials were unveiled in 2018 to commemorate the bicentennial of Douglass’s birth.

The famous speech, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” delivered 168 years ago in Rochester, called out Americans for celebrating Independence Day while slaves were still in chains.

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; 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 said in the famous oration. “To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless.”

Born into slavery, Douglass was chosen to live in his owners’ home and learned the alphabet from the slaveholder’s wife, Sophia. She was ordered to stop teaching but Douglass continued to seek knowledge from white kids in the neighborhood.

He learned to read and did so constantly. He taught other slaves how to read the New Testament until slaveowners broke the meetings up with weapons.

Moved around frequently, Douglass worked for different masters until his escape to New Bedford, Massachusetts where he hid from slave hunters for three years.

His intellect and speaking skills landed him as agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. He went on to write his famous biography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, a classic in American literature. He also started an anti-slavery newspaper, The North Star.

Douglass later befriended Abraham Lincoln and served as an advisor to the sixteenth president throughout the civil war.

According to Britannica, he went on to serve as assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission, marshal and recorder of deeds in Washington D.C. and U.S. Minister and Consul General to Haiti.

Douglass fought and spoke for abolition for the his entire life — he also was an early advocate for women’s rights.

“To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker,” Douglass once said.

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House GOP: Conservatives Paralyze Legislative Business



matt gaetz

Conservatives within the House GOP are taking on party leaders by engaging in an unprecedented blockade, effectively paralyzing the chamber’s legislative business. The standoff began after a typically routine procedural vote failed on Tuesday, prompting conservatives to seize control of the floor.

At the center of the dispute is the debt limit deal struck between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden. Some conservatives feel that the procedures used to pass the deal in the House last week did not align with the agreement they had reached with McCarthy. This agreement granted conservatives more influence over decision-making and the operational procedures involved in moving the bill forward, and they now accuse leadership of violating these commitments.

The tension escalated when Freedom Caucus members and their allies joined forces with Democrats in voting against a rule that would have allowed several bills, including two addressing the Biden administration’s gas stove limitations, to reach the House floor. This marked the first time in two decades that a rules vote had failed.

Representative Matt Gaetz voiced his frustration, expressing concern that the fundamental commitments made to secure McCarthy’s speakership had been disregarded due to the debt limit deal. Gaetz also criticized the punishment meted out to Representative Andrew Clyde for his stance against the rule that allowed the debt limit increase.

According to reports from Fox News, Gaetz said, “I am very aggrieved at the punishment that was delivered to my colleague Andrew Clyde on his bill regarding pistol braces… for him standing with us and the votes we took against the rule that allowed the debt limit to be increased.”

Gaetz pledged to bring the House floor to a grinding halt, anticipating a prolonged shutdown.

“We took down the rule because we’re frustrated at the way this place is operating,” stated Rep. Gaetz. “We’re concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal,” he added.

The conservatives’ grievances extend beyond the procedural vote, with accusations that McCarthy has deviated from the undisclosed agreement made in January. Specific concessions that the dissident Republicans seek from McCarthy remain undisclosed, but they emphasize the need to restore unity and renegotiate their role within the party.

While McCarthy met with members of the Freedom Caucus, little progress was reported, and it remains uncertain if any votes will take place on the following day. The group insists that the restoration of a fair and inclusive process is essential to rectify the perceived failures of the previous week.

As the GOP leadership grapples with the repercussions of this internal standoff, the Republican majority’s effectiveness hangs in the balance. The path forward hinges on whether leadership is willing to reciprocate and address the concerns of the the dissenting group within the conservative ranks, ultimately determining the future of the party’s legislative agenda.

Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!

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