In a momentous ceremony held Thursday, July 6, 2023, Mayor Malik D. Evans, accompanied by City Councilmember LaShay Harris, representatives of Empire State Development, NYS Canal Corporation, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and the Corn Hill Neighbors Association, unveiled a stunning monument titled "Salt of the Earth, Light of the World."
The monument, created by talented Rochester resident and artist Olivia Kim, pays homage to the renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. Its name, "Salt of the Earth, Light of the World," draws inspiration from Matthew 5:13-16, referring to the self-made nature of both men and the correlation with Douglass's influential abolitionist newspaper, The North Star.
Speaking at the unveiling, Mayor Malik D. Evans highlighted the significance of the monument, stating, "The monument we dedicated today depicts a significant meeting between Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C., on August 19, 1864, where Douglass believed that President Abraham Lincoln had finally come to understand that the ultimate mission of the Union Army must be the freedom of millions of enslaved Americans, not just reunification. We would never be the country we are today without both of these men. Our daily work at City Hall also relies on collaboration and on people willing to come together to create a city of hope for every resident. I know this monument will continue to inspire and engage residents and visitors today and for future generations."
Crafted from bronze, the monument stands tall at approximately 10 feet and finds its place at The North Star Commons along the picturesque Genesee Riverway Trail in the historic Corn Hill neighborhood.
The figure of Frederick Douglass is strategically positioned to the north, symbolically welcoming people to Rochester from the South, while President Lincoln stands as a beacon, serving as a guiding "North star" for our entire nation.
The unveiling ceremony marks a significant milestone in the city's efforts to commemorate the legacies of Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. This striking monument, with its detailed portrayal of the historical meeting between the two iconic figures, is poised to become a powerful symbol of unity, resilience, and progress.
As residents and visitors witness the monument's grandeur and absorb its rich historical significance, it is hoped that they will be inspired to embrace collaboration and work towards creating a better future for all.
The "Salt of the Earth, Light of the World" monument will undoubtedly stand as a lasting tribute, ensuring that the stories of Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln continue to resonate with generations to come.