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Frederick Douglass museum plans for downtown Rochester

 Rendering of the planned Frederick Douglass Museum Center on E. Main Street in Rochester.
Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives
provided photo
Rendering of the planned Frederick Douglass Museum Center on E. Main Street in Rochester.

There are plans to create a Frederick Douglass Museum in downtown Rochester.

They were announced on Tuesday, which traditionally has been marked as the birthday of the famed abolitionist. He traditionally celebrated his birthday on Valentine’s Day, even though the exact date of his birth was not known.

The museum is being organized through the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and members of that organization, including descendants of Douglass, were at this week’s announcement.

Erica Mock, executive director of the organization, said the nonprofit is purchasing a building at 140 E. Main St. that will eventually become the Frederick Douglass Museum Center.

She said the idea is to have this museum help educate people on issues that were important to Douglass.

“We definitely want to have an educational component, because Frederick learned that his education was his freedom,” Mock said. “So there will be educational components based upon cultural change and just the truth of where things have been in his country and where we’re headed in this country.”

Douglass lived in Rochester for a number of years and is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Mock noted that many people visit that cemetery to see the gravesites of people like Douglass and suffragist Susan B. Anthony, from all over the world.

“Frederick Douglass was a global figure, I hear people from Africa, from Ireland, from Haiti of course, when he was the U.S. Ambassador of Haiti,” Mock said. “I hear people from all walks of life talking about Frederick Douglass, and what he meant and how much of an inspiration (he was).”

Mock said they continue to raise funding for the project, with the goal of opening the museum in the next three to four years.

Copyright 2023 WXXI News

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.