Monuments to Fredrick Douglass


I did a search for monuments to Frederick Douglass, and was surprised to see the sheer number of them. I need to do some clean-up to the text in this blog entry, but I thought that readers might be interested in seeing this right now. I will finish editing the wording in a few days.

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From Wiki: A statue of Frederick Douglass sculpted by Sidney W. Edwards, sometimes called the Frederick Douglass Monument, was installed in Rochester, New York in 1899 after it was commissioned by the African-American activist John W. Thompson. According to Visualising Slavery: Art Across the African Diaspora, it was the first statue in the United States that memorialized a specific African-American person.

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Per the Maryland Office of Tourism: FREDERICK DOUGLASS STATUE AT MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY; the eight-foot tall bronze cast of Frederick Douglass, completed in 1956, stands in front of Holmes Hall on the campus of Morgan State University on the main historic academic quad. Artist James E. Lewis, chair of the Art Department, was chosen to design and sculpt the monument. Morgan State is a historically black university.

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From NYC Parks: Frederick Douglass Memorial, located in Central Park North and Frederick Douglass Boulevard; dedicated September 20, 2011

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Frederick Douglass Memorial; Location: Easton, MD; Year: 2011. Famed abolitionist, orator, and former slave, Frederick Douglass stands before the Talbot County Courthouse in Easton, MD. Douglass was born 5 miles from the site and was incarcerated in the courthouse as a youth.

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From Wiki: Frederick Douglass is a 2013 bronze sculpture depicting the American abolitionist and politician of the same name by Steven Weitzman, installed in the United States Capitol Visitor Center‘s Emancipation Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.

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From Wiki: Frederick Douglass is a public artwork in front of the Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. The statue memorializes African-American abolitionistsuffragist, and labor leader Frederick Douglass. It was unveiled in 2015. The statue was designed by sculptor Andrew Edwards.

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The Frederick Douglass Sculpture on West Chester University’s Campus in Pennsylvania. According to The WC Press, Douglass gave his last public address, before he passed away, at the University. The cane in the statue is based on a staff that was given to Douglass by Abraham Lincoln. Installed the 2010s.

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Fredrick Douglass monument at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Hillsdale College was founded in 1844 by abolitionists known as Free Will Baptists. Douglass spoke at the college on Jan. 21, 1863. The monument was installed on-campus in 2017.

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Statues of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass at the National Harbor in Prince George’s County, MD. Installation date unknown.

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Monument to Frederick Douglass at the Maryland State House. Installed in 2020.

Douglass famously said during the Civil War, “Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder, and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on the earth or under the earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship.” He recruited black men to join the US military during the Civil War, and met with Abraham Lincoln twice during that conflict. 

One thought on “Monuments to Fredrick Douglass

  1. I looked up the statue in Rochester and apparently it still stands in a prominent place (but not the original site). Inscriptions on the statue:

    One of the rear of the base reads SMITH GRANITE CO. / WESTERLY, RI”. Additionally, a plaque on the back of the base reads: “THE BEST DEFENCE OF FREE / AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS IS / THE HEARTS OF THE AMERICAN / PEOPLE THEMSELVES.” / “ONE WITH GOD IS A MAJORITY” / “I KNOW OF NO RIGHTS OF RACE / SUPERIOR TO THE RIGHTS OF / HUMANITY.”

    A plaque on one of the sides of the base reads: “I KNOW OF NO SOIL BETTER / ADAPTED TO THE GROWTH OF / REFORM THAN AMERICAN SOIL / I KNOW OF NO COUNTRY. / WHERE THE CONDITIONS FOR / EFFECTING GREAT CHANGES / IN THE SETTLED ORDER OF / THINGS, FOR THE DEVELOPMENT / OF RIGHT IDEAS OF LIBERTY / AND HUMANITY ARE MORE / FAVORABLE THAN HERE IN / THESE UNITED STATES.” / EXTRACT FROM SPEECH ON / DRED SCOTT DECISION, DELIVERED / IN NEW YORK, MAY 1857″

    Another on the opposite side reads: “MEN DO NOT LIVE BY BREAD/ALONE; SO WITH NATIONS, THEY / ARE NOT SAVED BY ART, BUT BY / HONESTY; NOT BY THE GILDED / SPLENDORS OF WEALTH BUT BY / THE HIDDEN TREASURE OF / MANLY VIRTUE; NOT BY THE / MULTITUDINOUS GRATIFICATION / OF THE FLESH, BUT BY / THE CELESTIAL GUIDANCE / OF THE SPIRIT.” / EXTRACT FROM THE SPEECH ON / THE WEST INDIA EMANCIPATION, / DELIVERED AT CANADAIGUA, N.Y. / AUGUST 4, 1857″

    The inscriptions give us a philosophy I can wholeheartedly endorse. But unfortunately, our country is going down a different path now.

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