Frederick Douglas statue in Highland Park, Rochester, NY
Frederick Douglass statue in Highland Park, Rochester, NY

According to Visualising Slavery: Art Across the African Diaspora, this Frederick Douglass monument was the first statue in the United States that memorialized a specific African-American. It was installed in front of the New York Central train station in 1899 but then moved to Highland Park in 1941 for some reason. More curiously, it sat not where it is now but down in the bowl, just off to the left in the picture above. In 2018, on the 200th anniversary of Douglass’s birth, the city commissioned Olivia Kim to construct a series of life sized replicas of the statue. The statues were placed in throughout the city in locations that were important to Douglass’s legacy. A nice idea but the fiberglass replicas look cheap compared to this one. Douglass deserves a fleet of bronze statues.

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