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Frederick Douglass

My Personal Thoughts

It is nearly impossible to grow up in Rochester, New York, and not be aware of the legacy of Frederick Douglass. I have lived here most of my life and to imagine Rochester without Douglass would be like imagining Rochester without Susan B. Anthony and George Eastman. There is a statue of Douglass that stands in Highland Park and one of the bridges on the outer loop of our expressway is named after Douglass and Anthony, yet there is little from his time period that one can see. His house burned down and he never reestablished a home here again. He did make some trips back to the area for special occasions, such as his appearance with President Benjamin Harrison at the opening of Kodak Park. But with the rejection he must have felt after the arson of his home and being turned away at the hotel, he must have experienced some aversion to ever making Rochester a permanent base again. His body was returned here for burial after his death, but most likely he wanted to be laid to rest with his first wife and his beloved daughter Annie. Eventually his daughter Rosetta and her husband Nathan Sprague were buried in another spot in Mount Hope Cemetery, only recently their burial location being discovered. Rochester chooses to uphold the Douglass legacy and I feel it is a vital component to the city’s history. Just like Susan B. Anthony, who is also buried in Mount Hope, Douglass remains a prominent figure in local and national history. His achievements in social reform make Frederick Douglass probably one of the most important figures in United States history.

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