A brand new statue of Frederick Douglass will be put up in Rochester Thursday afternoon. The statue was torn down and stolen earlier this week, allegedly by St. John Fisher College students Charles Milks of Kenmore and John Boedicker of Endicott. They have been charged with criminal mischief.
The Frederick Douglass statue is part of a walking tour throughout Rochester and was funded through grants and individual donations to the Rochester Community Media Center. The site, at Tracy and Alexander Street, is significant because Douglass' daughter was kicked out of a segregated school that once stood here.
Chris Christopher, manager of the Re-energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass Project, said two young men, Eric Daniels and Tian Stephens, both alumni of the Frederick Douglass Club at School 12, will read a letter Douglass wrote addressing the incident at the ceremony.
She said this is a time to set aside anger and use this as a teachable moment.
"Earlier this week two young men tore us down," Christopher said, "and tomorrow, two young men are going to lift us up with the words of Frederick Douglass and give the community a little more sense of why this particular location is so important."
She noted that this vandalism happened during the bicentennial year celebration of Douglass and said, overall, it has been wonderful to watch how the region has expressed interest and excitement in his history.
“This is a history that we should celebrate and a history that people have come together to lit up this entire year," Christopher said, "and we know that now without any question, because of the outpouring of anger and outpouring of support that has been received since this incident happened.”