The last time a Frederick Douglass statue was vandalized in Rochester, it was because of drunk college kids

A statue of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Rochester's Maplewood Park was vandalized on the anniversary of the "What to a slave is the Fourth of July?" speech that he gave in Rochester  in 1852.

Given the current cultural conversation that the United States is having around statues and memorials that commemorate people who did terrible things alongside their other accomplishments, this unfortunate act is being held up as some kind of monolithic indicator of the eeeeeeevils of "cancel culture" and whiny liberals who want to get rid of statues. Consider these tweets from Yascha Mounk, a contributing editor for The Atlantic and Senior Advisor for Protect Democracy:

As of this writing, it's not clear who destroyed this statue — one of fourteen Douglass statues in Rochester, where Douglass lived and was buried. In 2018, two drunk college kids also destroyed a Frederick Douglass statue in the city. Eyewitnesses claimed the students were shouting racial slurs, but the vandals themselves insist they were just drunk and did it for the lulz. They pled guilty, and had to participate in a restorative justice program to learn more about Douglass and his contributions to the world.

In other words, even that situation wasn't an indicator of anything other than the seeping subtleties that empower entitled white dudes to do dumb shit and get away with it. Read the rest

Frederick Douglass: What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?

1852: "This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the Fourth of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day." Read the rest

Activist Shaun King relaunching Frederick Douglass' abolitionist paper, North Star

On Thursday, civil rights activist and journalist Shaun King announced that he will be bringing back North Star, the abolitionist newspaper started by Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany 171 years ago, after receiving full permission and blessing from Douglass' family.

He writes:

In 1847, with slavery still in full force, two brave men, Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany (both pictured above), started an abolitionist newspaper called The North Star — named for the star, Polaris, that was often used as a guide for those seeking freedom in the North.

Douglass and Delany knew then, as we know now, that in order to fight back against injustice, their stories had to not only be well told — with the color and dimension and nuance that was frequently missing elsewhere, they knew they needed a newspaper that represented the cause of liberation with urgency, clarity, heart, and soul...

While The North Star was originally a print newspaper, we will be launching a news app, a full news website, a collection of podcasts, and an online nightly news broadcast. We’re not just here to change the news — we aim to change the world.

King, with his friend Ben Dixon, are first gathering 100,000 people to assist in their November 15 launch through Since the announcement yesterday, over 61,000 people have signed up to help.

By the end of 2018, they hope to have 25,000 people signed up as members of the new North Star.

Go get'em, gentlemen!

Thanks, Kristen! Read the rest

Donate to the Bowling Green Massacre Victims Fund

So sad, so very very sad, that Frederick Douglass just sat there and did nothing to stop the Bowling Green Massacre. Read the rest