Frederick Douglass Museum to open on East Main Street

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – As a slave, Frederick Douglass didn’t know his actual birthdate so he proclaimed February 14th as that day. And to continue his legacy, his great-grandson announced that a Frederick Douglass Museum will sit right here on Main Street in the old atrium building.

The announcement came amid messages of love on this Valentine’s Day. And sounds that could be felt deep within. All to celebrate and honor the famous Frederick Douglass, one of Rochester’s adopted sons.

“I’m thrilled to announce on Frederick Douglass’ birthday that he is returning to Main Street just a few blocks down from the Talman Building where he published his paper. Yesterday we finalized a purchase and sales agreement with Bob to build the Frederick Douglass Museum Center in the building you’re sitting in now 140 East Main Street,” said Kenneth Morris Jr.

His great-grandson Kenneth Morris Jr. says Douglass spent 25 years in Rochester, and that it’s important for people to know who he was, and the avenues he created for blacks.

“But if you want to learn about the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, there is no space really in Rochester where you can go and learn about him and feel and touch.”

Mayor Malik Evans says the museum will change the future of the city.

“This is transformative for Rochester, not only from a historical standpoint but from an economic development standpoint. Do you understand what this does for our community? This means we can say ‘Hey come to Rochester and spend your money. See they’ll come here to this museum, but then they’ll spend money at the restaurant that is not built yet.”

In 2019, the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives co-founded by Frederick Douglass’ descendants, moved to Rochester from Atlanta to further his legacy. The local nonprofit advocates for antiracism and human trafficking.

“The entire Douglass family lived and live their lives today by their united conviction, why not we endure hardship that our race may be free? So let’s honor not only Frederick Douglass, but his entire family on this day of love,” said Erica Mock, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives International Executive Director.

It’s safe to say his legacy will continue to have an impact here in Rochester for many more years to come.