The Rochester community is celebrating the installation of the Frederick Douglass Monument, which happened 124 years ago on June 9, 1899.
This event honors the collaboration between Black and White abolitionists and suffragists who worked together to overcome the challenges of slavery, segregation, and racism. They built the first statue in America to honor a Black man.
The event takes place, Friday, June 9, 2023 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Dr. Walter L. Cooper Academy, School #10, located at 323 Congress Avenue, Rochester, NY 14619.
John W. Thompson, an activist and author, documented this remarkable historical achievement in his book called "The Authentic Story of the Frederick Douglass Monument Committee." His descendant, Lavelle Lewis, will share Thompson's documentation of the fundraising and installation process of the monument in 1899.
During the celebration at Cooper Academy, guest artists and youth will share life stories of the Black and White abolitionists and suffragists. They will emphasize the importance of knowing one's family history as a foundation for unity.
Youth Change Agents will also promote equity and inclusion and highlight the contributions of Black and Brown citizens to the rich history of Rochester. This includes the first Black settler and the descendants of Black abolitionists and suffragists who currently live in Rochester.
The Rochester region played a pivotal role in the fight for women's right to vote. Reenactor Barbara Blaisdell and Youth Change Agent Jocelyn Kirkand will represent suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Hester Jeffrey, respectively.
During the celebration, Almeta Whitis, an actress and storyteller, will portray Harriet Tubman, while Dr. Walter Cooper will inspire parents as the leaders of their child's education through his words and actions.