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About the Frederick Douglass Statue

On July 19, 2018, the City of Rochester installed a life-size statue of renowned African-American orator, writer, social reformer, and statesman Frederick Douglass in front of The Hochstein School. Hochstein is on the site of the Central Presbyterian Church, where funerals were held for both Frederick Douglass (d. 1895) and Susan B. Anthony (d. 1906).

Frederick Douglass was one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement. He made his home in Rochester from 1847-1872. Many believe that the most important work of his career was done in Rochester, including publishing The North Star newspaper and working with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in support of woman suffrage. In Rochester, Douglass found “no soil better” to grow, harvest and share his passion for the pursuit of freedom.

This life-size statue is the work of artist Olivia Kim, and is a replica of the original eight-foot bronze monument of Frederick Douglass by the sculptor Stanley W. Edwards, first installed in 1899 in Plymouth Park (now Lunsford Circle). It was the first civic monument in the country to honor an African-American man. The original statue is now in Highland Park. Replica statues are scattered around Rochester at sites that are significant to Douglass’s life and work.

To find out more about the history of the Hochstein site (once also a stop on the Underground Railroad) and view a self-guided tour of all of the Frederick Douglass statues in Rochester, visit www.douglasstour.com/tour. You can also view a photo gallery of the statues’ creation at www.douglasstour.com/replica-creation-gallery.

The Community Gets Involved...

Since the Frederick Douglass statue was installed in July 2018, it has been periodically decorated with various props - an umbrella to keep him dry, a poppy to commemorate the end of WWI, a knit scarf to keep him warm. The "Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass" committee, which installed the statues around Rochester - along with sculptor Olivia Kim and members of Douglass's family (including his great-great-great-grandson, Ken Morris) - loves to see the Rochester community engage with the statues.

In October 2018, Morris said, "Great to see the good people of Rochester taking care of their hometown hero!" We will continue to do more things with our friend, Frederick Douglass, to include him in the Hochstein community and encourage engagement from the greater community. See below for a slideshow of photos of the decorated statue.