Mayor Lovely Warren unveiled a unique image of famed abolitionist, human rights advocate, writer, orator, advisor to President Abraham Lincoln and statesman, Frederick Douglass, Feb. 18, at City Hall.
A Rochester librarian found the image, in a scrapbook donated to the Rochester Public Library over a century ago, which historians said previously belonged to a postal worker and dated back to 1873.
Mayor Warren was joined by City Council Vice President Dana Miller, community members, Library Director Patty Uttaro, City Historian Christine Ridarsky, local scholars, and students at City Hall to celebrate the discovery.
“We are thrilled to have rediscovered this remarkable image of Frederick Douglass in the heart of our city,” Warren stated. “The legacy of this great American—the leader of the abolitionist movement who lived most of his life here in Rochester—makes us proud. The Rochester Public Library is a treasure trove of our city’s rich history, and we are elated to be able to add this stunning photo to the timeline of Frederick Douglass’ story, to be appreciated by generations to come.”
Scholars have confirmed that Douglass, a former slave and human rights leader, was the most photographed man of the 19th century, more so than President Abraham Lincoln, George Custer or Walt Whitman.
He called Rochester home from 1847 to 1872, where he published his newspapers the North Star and Frederick Douglass’ Paper; supported women’s suffrage alongside Susan B. Anthony; and much more, before moving to Washington D.C.
Douglass is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.
The Douglass photo will be on display in the visitor’s area of City Hall through March 16, along with additional materials from the library’s special collections. In addition, the mayor’s communications bureau will also be releasing a documentary titled “Rediscovering Frederick Douglass” in March, as an end to a special series of Black History Month Celebrations.
View a preview of the documentary, below: