Frederick Douglass Memorial Dedicated

Photo by William Alatriste.

On Tuesday, Melissa, Congressman Rangel, Senator Perkins, Councilwoman Dickens, and a direct descendant of Frederick Douglass gathered for the Frederick Douglass Memorial Ribbon-cutting Ceremony. The memorial honors Douglass, an African American abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. The portrait sculpture of Douglass stands eight feet tall and is encircled by a large fountain with ornamental and symbloic features. The design was crafted by Gabriel Koren and Algernon Miller.

The crossroad of Central Park West and 110th street had been designated for Douglass in 1950, but the site laid unimproved for many decades. In the 1990s, there was a renewed public effort to complete the site, which included a series of community-based design workshops organized by the Central Park Conservatory. In 2003 Koren, a Hungarian-born sculptor, and Miller, a Harlem-based artist, were selected to complete the site following an intense design competition sponsored by the Cityscape Institute.

Also in attendance was Tony Award nominee Andre Deshields, who dressed as Frederick Douglass, delivered excerpts from “Oration In Memory Of Abraham Lincoln,” which was made by Douglass originally in 1876 at the unveiling of Freedmen’s Monument in Washington D.C. Melissa was deeply moved by the speech and hopes that everyone will read it patiently and with sincere appreciation: “The struggle against oppression continues today and will endure for years to come. Douglass’ words are an invaluable inspiration to keep fighting for justice.”

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