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Institutions to honor Frederick Douglass legacy


A statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass fabricated by artist Olivia Kim. - FILE PHOTO
  • A statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass fabricated by artist Olivia Kim.

Marking 200 years since Frederick Douglass's birth, 2018 was a year full of commemorations of his life and legacy. But celebrations of the abolitionist and orator, who lived in Rochester for 25 years, continue into 2019. Today, on the 124th anniversary of Douglass's death, a handful of Rochester institutions have announced a joint partnership to honor his life and legacy. The Memorial Art Gallery, St. John Fisher College, and the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee have planned a series of Douglass-related events and exhibitions for the coming months.

MAG will display a monument of Douglass, adding to the 12 monuments at Rochester sites with historical connections to him. The statue, created by artist Olivia Kim, will be on view at MAG simultaneously with the gallery's new exhibit, "Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass," a 10-screen film installation by media artist Isaac Julien that was commissioned by the gallery. MAG director Jonathan Binstock says the media artwork is Julien's "meditation on the life, words, and actions of Douglass." The monument and installation will be on display from March 3 to May 12.

And on April 17, at 7 p.m., the partner organizations will host a community conversation about Douglass and his legacy, public art, and how the Douglass's ideas resonate in today’s world. The conversation is open to the public and will take place at MAG.

A companion website for the Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass project is at, and includes a self-guided walking or driving tour map, biographical info, and more resources.