Written by on May 14, 2024



The 125th Salute to America’s First Monument Honoring an African American

The Frederick Douglass Monument Commemoration and wreath laying program will be held at the Monument in Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza in Highland Park, located at the corner of South Ave. and Robinson Dr. Rochester NY 14620 on JUNE 9, 2024 at 3PM.

This 125th annual event, celebrates the June 9, 1899 unveiling of the Frederick Douglass Monument initiated by John W. Thompson. The Commemoration recounts the story of the courageous struggle, determination and perseverance Douglass inspired in “everyday people” to establish the Monument.  A host of heroes emerged over the following century dedicated to spotlighting the Monument and its significance. “You will be energized hearing their stories. What a triumph when you are motivated to reach deep within to find and then elevate your best self,” said the Rev. Juanitaelizabeth Carroll, chief operating officer of the Friends of Frederick Douglass.

 Carroll’s mother, Dr. G. Juanita Pitts (Carroll), led the Friends from its predecessor, the Frederick Douglass Historical and Cultural League in the 1960’s until her passing in 2015. She organized the Frederick Douglass Freedom Festival to coincide with the re-energized annual monument commemoration. Spearheading many Rochester events around Douglass, one, according to the Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Woman, Inc., was in 1993 for Dr. Pitts to realize a dream of having the “Rochester park area between South and Mt. Hope avenues, which marks the site of the Douglass homestead, touches his cemetery plot and includes his bronze…” renamed Frederick Douglass Memorial Square, complete with signage informing residents and tourists about its historical significance.

The program will include the wreath laying and a joint proclamation from the offices of County Executive Bello and Mayor Evans along with experts revealing little known historical facts, remarks from Douglass and Thompson family descendant’s, up and coming Rochester youth from the Frederick Douglass R Center, School #16 and remarkable Rochesterians inspired to expand the Frederick Douglass Monument legacy. The approximately hour-long event is free and open to the public.


For more information, text (847) 436-1982 or email

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