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Anna Murray-Douglass Academy School No. 12 Recognized as Underground Railroad Site

Rochester City School District (RCSD) Anna Murray-Douglass Academy School No. 12

The Rochester City School District (RCSD) Anna Murray-Douglass Academy School No. 12 was recently selected as a new listing on the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom by the National Park Service and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

“This historic designation is a testament to the unwavering commitment of Anna Murray-Douglass and the school’s community to the pursuit of freedom and equality,” said Dr. Carmine Peluso, Superintendent of Schools.

The Network to Freedom serves to honor, preserve and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, inspiring people worldwide. Through its mission, the Network helps to advance the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression.

The RCSD rededicated School No. 12 as the Anna Murray-Douglass Academy School No. 12 in 2018. Peluso said he is thrilled that the school has been recognized as an Underground Railroad Site.

“As educators, we are inspired by the legacy of Anna Murray-Douglass and the important role that education played in the fight for justice. We remain dedicated to providing our students with the highest quality education and preparing them to be active participants in creating a more equitable and just society.”

Anna Murray-Douglass, wife of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass and his family moved to the South Avenue location in 1852. At the time, that location was on top of a hill, isolated from neighbors, and made for an ideal place for the Underground Railroad. Douglass was instrumental in helping many freedom seekers on their way to Canada. Douglass and his family spent 20 years on this property while he worked on his newspaper, The North Star, and traveled the abolition lecture circuit. In 1872, a fire destroyed the home.

Anna Murray-Douglass, wife of Douglass, also played an important role in our nation’s history.

Anna helped Frederick escape slavery, and she shared her husband’s dedication to the abolitionist movement, becoming an instrumental member of the Underground Railroad and establishing a headquarters here in the city of Rochester.

“It is an honor to be associated with such a significant part of our nation’s history, and I commend the efforts of all those who made this recognition possible,” said Peluso.

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