Rare sheet music inspired by Frederick Douglass obtained by UR

BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER At New York City’s Swann Auction Galleries last March, the University of Rochester successfully bid on a weathered but well-kept book of 17 songs. Perhaps the most intriguing piece in the bound collection of sheet music is a song inspired by abolitionist and long-time Rochesterian Frederick Douglass. According to Autumn Haag,…

Douglass’s fight for voting rights

By Jake Clapp In 1847, when Frederick Douglass moved to Rochester and started his newspaper, The North Star, five states allowed black men to vote: Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. New York also technically allowed them to vote, but strict residency and property ownership laws made it all but impossible. Many of…

Douglass’s Rochester: Voting rights

A long list of problems is suppressing voter turnout in New York State By Jake Clapp Part of a year-long, quarterly series examining how Rochester lives up to the legacy of Frederick Douglass, produced by Open Mic Rochester and CITY Newspaper. Both publications will also have related articles throughout the year. Frederick Douglass knew the…

Douglass statues coming to Rochester streets

By Jake Clapp Frederick Douglass lived and worked in Rochester for 25 years, walking the streets, frequenting local businesses, and talking with neighbors. The fact of his presence will always be a part of Rochester, and now a set of life-sized statues will bring his physical representation to contemporary city streets. The statues, and an…

Lifting Hands

The power of the Black Church on American history and today’s families   BY TIANNA MAÑÓN AND MICHELE ASHLEE PHOTOS BY MICHELE ASHLEE The church has long been a pillar of the black community. Certainly, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. heavily relied on it to organize people and spread his message. It was also critical…

The inheritance of freedom

Reflecting on Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech [ COMMENTARY ] By Vanessa J. Cheeks Frederick Douglass, on July 5, 1852, took to the stage at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall to deliver a speech to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. He had been invited to commemorate the country’s 76th year of independence….

Freedom paths

Upstate New York was an important part of the Underground Railroad. Connect with that history this summer By Jake Clapp In his third autobiography, Frederick Douglass reflected on his anti-slavery work while living in Rochester: Along with speaking and writing against slavery, Douglass wrote in “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” one important action “must…