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Warren, Dinolfo Proclaim 2018 as “The Year of Frederick Douglass”

By Staff –


17 Douglass 200 headerMayor Lovely Warren and Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo have proclaimed 2018 as “The Year of Frederick Douglass,” and local officials will host a variety of events in celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of Douglass’ birth.

“Frederick Douglass is one of the greatest historical figures of all time,” Mayor Warren stated. “His leadership of the abolitionist movement is renowned throughout the world. It’s important that we continue to remember the sacrifices he made during his extraordinary life in his tireless fight to abolish slavery, as well as his contributions to the women’s suffrage movement. This significant anniversary gives us another opportunity to honor his legacy in Rochester and beyond.”

Warren and Dinolfo delivered the proclamation at the historic Hochstein School of Music and Dance recently, the site of Douglass’ massive funeral in 1895.

Here are the February events that will celebrate Douglass’ legacy, as per the city’s web site:

Friday, Feb. 2, 6 to 9 p.m. (opening reception) Exhibit open through Monday, March 18, various times: No Soil Better: Art and the Living Legacy of Frederick Douglass at Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Ave. Presented as part of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee led by Rochester Community Television and RoCo, this exhibit of new works features a diverse group of emerging and established NYS Artists. No Soil Better will reflect on how Douglass has been memorialized and the importance of his legacy today. Including work by: Yvonne Buchanan (Syracuse); Thievin’ Stephen (Rochester); Olivia Kim (Rochester); Rodney Taylor (Buffalo); Annette Daniels Taylor (Buffalo); Caitlin Cass (Buffalo); Luvon Shepard (Rochester); Shawn Dunwoody (Rochester); Meleko Mokgosi (New York); and the Rochester Public Library. Visit or call (585) 461-2222 for more information.

Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.: Walk the Walk, Encounters with Rochester’s African-American Ancestors. The Landmark Society of Western New York invites the community to the Memorial AME Zion Church, 549 Clarissa St., to meet Frederick Douglass in his bicentennial year, and enjoy an entertaining and moving evening of theater and music, followed by a cookie reception with the performers. Admission is free thanks to support from the New York State Council of the Arts, Bergmann Associates, Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, Fred & Floy Willmott Foundation and The Links, Rochester NY Chapter. Visit for more information.

Saturday, Feb.10, Noon: Frederick Douglass and His Photographic Legacy at George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth, artist Amanda Chestnut and associate curator Heather Shannon will talk about the great American’s contribution to the history of photography as well as the implications of collecting and preserving photographs of and documents authored by people of color. For more, information contact Nick Marshall, or visit

Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.: Women in the World of Frederick Douglass discussion at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County – Rundel Memorial Building (2nd Fl. Conference Room), 115 South Ave. The library’s Local History & Genealogy Division presents “Women in the World of Frederick Douglass” discussion. Leigh Fought, professor of history at LeMoyne College, will discuss the role women played in Frederick Douglass’s life, and how they influenced his activism. The talk will be based on Fought’s recent book “Women in the World of Frederick Douglass.” For information, visit, or call (585) 428-8370.

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2 to 5 p.m.: Birthday Celebration for Frederick Douglass. Presented by SUNY Empire State College, the public is invited to the Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Ave., to enjoy a 200th birthday party for Douglass. Patrons will enjoy the voices of Akoma–Rochester Women’s African American Gospel Choir, a cupcake buffet and an opportunity to take a photo alongside an iconic portrait of Douglass. This event is free and open to the public, however, reservations are suggested. Register at For more information, call Timothy Cosgriff at (585) 224-3271, or send an email to

Wednesday, Feb. 14, time TBD: Shine a Light on Douglass community event in Highland Park to celebrate the birth of Frederick Douglass and create an important archival photo of the 1899 Douglass monument created by Sidney W. Edwards. This event is organized by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Big Shot team and presented as part of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee led by Rochester Community Television and RoCo.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.: AKWAABA: The Heritage Associates, Inc. will participate in the “Times in the Life of Frederick Douglass,” part of the Bronze Collective series of events at the MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Ave. Call (585) 482-5192, or visit for more information.

Friday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m.: Frederick Douglass at 200 concert, presented by the Rochester Oratorio Society at Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave. Celebrate the enduring wisdom and legacy to our city and nation through this bicentennial observance of Frederick Douglass and his family. This event features Douglass re-enactor Dr. David “Sankofa” Anderson, a moving recitation by students from RCSD School #12 and the full Oratorio Society chorus and African percussion in the ‘Emancipation Oratorio,’ by nationally-renowned Geneseo composter Glenn McClure. Call (585) 473-2234 or visit for more information. 

Upon Request: AKWAABA: The Heritage Associates, Inc. will conduct Underground Railroad tours for groups upon appointment that may include reenactments, per requests. Call (585) 482-5192, or visit  for more information or to schedule a tour.

Visit for additional information regarding the events.

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