Rochester Public Art by Richard MargolisAn Inventory of Rochester NY's Landmark Sculpture, Monuments, and Memorials


Frederick Douglass by Sidney Wells Edwards

Frederick Douglass
Location: Highland Park, Resevoir at South Avenue
Rochester, NY (view Google map)
Size: 17 Feet Tall
Material: Bronze
Dated: 1899

Description: Bronze figure

Caption: This monument, the first in the country to an African-American, is the result of several years effort by John W. Thompson, a waiter at the Powers Hotel. It was funded by contributions from Douglass admirers, the New York State Legislature, and the Republic of Haiti.

The Douglass sculpture was to be located in Washington Square Park, until Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The Soldiers and Sailors monument, with a sculpture of Lincoln at the top, was installed in its place.

The Douglass sculpture was located on Central Park at St. Paul Street until 1941 when it was moved to Highland Park to make room for a construction project.

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland in 1818. He fled to the North at age 20, adopted the name "Douglass" to hide his identity, married Anna Murray, a "free negro", and lectured on abolition until forced to England to flee slave hunters in 1846.

Douglass returned to the United States the next year after buying his freedom. He began publishing The North Star, an antislavery newspaper, in Rochester. Douglass and his family lived in Rochester for 25 years, working to end slavery and improve the rights of former slaves. He is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.


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