Frederick Douglass ... Monument Douglass Park ... Unveiled, June 9, 1899.

DOUGLASS Frederick. (1899.)

£950.00 

THE FIRST PUBLIC MONUMENT TO AN AFRICAN AMERICAN IN THE USA

Printed card measuring 235 by 102mm. Photographic portrait of Douglass, illustration of monument to verso. Faint edge-wear, small closed tear to margin, very good indeed. Rochester, Monument Committee,

The address at Frederick Douglass's funeral was given by Rev. Dr. W.C. Gannett, which commenced by noting what an important occasion it was for the city of Rochester, and gave an overview of Douglass's life and accomplishments. Towards the end of it, he remarked, "We have but one bronze monument in our streets. Will the next be that of Fred Douglass, the black man, the ex-slave, the renowned orator, the distinguished American citizen? I think it will be" (Thompson).

 

He was right to be confident. The previous year a monument honoring the service of African Americans in the Civil War was being planned with Douglass's approval and encouragement. However, those plans were changed with news of Douglass's death and so the monument commemorates him. Ten thousand dollars was required and a fundraising appeal was initiated by the local activist John Thompson. The New York state government contributed $3000 toward it and the Haitian government gave $1000. Duly, the cornerstone was laid on 20 July 1898 and the sculptor Stanley Edwards was commissioned to create the work. He used Douglass's son, Charles Remond Douglass, as a model. It was unveiled eleven months later at a ceremony which was attended by his widow, Theodore Roosevelt, and the governor of New York.

 

This souvenir of the unveiling includes the following quote from Douglass: "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 but the multitudinous gratifications of the flesh, but by the celestial guidance of the spirit." It also includes the names of the committee members. The image of the statue differs slightly from the monument itself, showing only a single hand extended. In 2019, it was moved to Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza.

 

OCLC locates a single copy at the University of Arizona. We locate another at Princeton.

 

Thompson, J.W., An Authentic History of the Douglas Monument ... (Rochester, 1903), pp33-34.

Stock Code: 242985

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