JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB)-Erroll Davis is from Atlanta. He visits the region every summer with his family and a trip to the Underground Railroad art exhibit in Jamestown’s Dow Park is usually on their agenda.
This year they found something disturbing.
“I saw a swastika on the forehead of the female statue. I saw “white power” written on one of the other statues. There was no doubt in my mind, it had racist intent,” said Davis. “We have been coming to view the statues for a number of years, we came this year to bring my new young associate to show her the statues. We were rather stunned to find one missing and the others covered with graffiti.”
Davis, who is also the president of the African American Heritage House at Chautauqua, was talking about his experience during a panel discussion on racism at the Chautauqua Institute and that’s when local resident Justin Hubbard heard about what happened to the statues.
He tells News 4 he had to go out and see it for himself.
“We were really shocked, kind of in disbelief. I kind of didn’t think that would happen here,” Hubbard said. “I came down here yesterday at about noon. When I initially saw it, it was really shocking, because it wasn’t just random vandalism; these are specific white supremacist logos and numbers and very specific things. They knew exactly what statues to target. This is a direct attack on the black community here.”
Hubbard is the coordinator for the Jamestown Justice Coalition, he says they plan to host a rally at Dow Park this Saturday at 11 a.m.
This is the second act of vandalism targeted at the park. In May someone ripped out the runaway slave statue that was in the park. Jamestown police still have not caught the person or persons responsible for either incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (716) 483-7536.
Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.