News Release - City Honors Frederick Douglass with Building Renamings

City of Rochester News Release

 (Monday, March 21, 2016) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren was joined by City Council President Loretta Scott, Councilmembers Carolee Conklin and Michael Patterson and members of the Rochester Public Library Board in a ceremony to honor Frederick Douglass. The Highland Branch Library and the South Avenue Recreation Center were renamed in honor of one of Rochester’s greatest historical figures.

Frederick Douglass was a famed abolitionist and the editor of the North Star newspaper. His home and family farm were located on the site that now houses the Highland Branch Library and the South Avenue Recreation Center. Douglass often hid fugitive slaves at his home on the property as they made their way towards freedom in Canada, making the property an informal part of the Underground Railroad.

“Frederick Douglass is one of the greatest historical figures in our city’s history”, said Mayor Lovely Warren. “His contributions to the abolitionist movement are renowned throughout the world. So it’s only appropriate that we honor the hallowed grounds where he lived, raised his family and helped runaways slaves escape to freedom. By renaming both the library and the recreation center after Frederick Douglass, we are giving the property the recognition that its historical significance deserves. We believe that this will bring added visibility to the area, and will further our goals of bringing safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, more jobs and better educational opportunities to our citizens.”

The decision to rename the library had to be approved by the Rochester Public Library Board. The board voted unanimously to rename the library to honor Frederick Douglass. The Highland Branch Library will now be known as the Frederick Douglass Community Library.

“It’s very fitting that we honor Frederick Douglass in this way”, said City Council President Loretta Scott. “The work that he did has meant so much to so many in this country. The fact that he actually lived on this property is very powerful, and now our city is giving this site the honor and recognition that it deserves.”

James P.B. Duffy School #12 is currently being renovated as part of the Rochester Schools Modernization Program. Visitors should be aware that due to construction at the school, parking at both the library and the recreation is very limited.


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.