The Frederick Douglass Historic Marker Initiative– a Medina project launched by the Orleans Renaissance Group, January 2015 is nearing completion. The project will feature a two-sided NYS Historic Marker commemorating two occasions when Frederick Douglass spoke in Medina.
Douglass visited Medina and many places throughout Orleans County during his life. The two instances commemorated on the marker are an 1849 appearance at the Methodist Episcopal Church which stood on Main Street until 1874.
The second side of the marker commemorates an important gathering of African-Americans in August of 1869, celebrating Emancipation. The gathering was widely publicized and attracted attendees from across New York State. At that event, Douglass delivered a speech entitled “We are not yet quite free”– a speech that became widely known and today continues to be referenced in books, publications and scholarly works.
Chris Busch, ORG President and coordinator of the project, says the marker commemorates Medina’s support of abolition and emancipation.
“The Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. along with all the donors and supporters believe that these moments in Medina history are of the greatest import and must be preserved for all generations to come.” said Busch. “Aside from President Lincoln, Frederick Douglass stands as the most signiﬁcant and consequential ﬁgure in the 19th century who routinely placed his life in danger in the cause of freedom and justice. The fact that the Village of Medina and Douglass are intertwined in that great struggle is a tremendous point of pride and should stand as an inspiration to current and future generations.”
The sign is being cast by Catskill Castings, a foundry in Bloomville, NY.
“Like so many projects before, this project wouldn’t have been possible without generous support from the community,” said Busch. “Again, folks immediately recognized the importance of commemorating Douglass in Medina and responded swiftly to see it done.”
The cost of the project was nearly $1800. The donor/sponsors are as follows:
Hon. James P. Punch
Christopher & Cynthia Busch
Gabrielle & Andina Barone in memory of Vincent D. Cardone
Medina Sandstone Society
David & Gail Miller
Nunzio T. Maiorana
Katherine K. Bogan, Esq.
Mark B. Kruzynski
ORG is working to have the marker in place by Friday, April 24 for an unveiling to coincide with the Education Day segment of the GCC Civil War initiative. ORG is currently working with Derek Maxfield, Asst. Professor of History and James Simon, GCC Medina Campus Dean, along with Nicole Goyette and representatives from the Medina Central Schools in an attempt to secure a nationally renowned Frederick Douglass reenactor for the event.
This project recently received national exposure, appearing in major newspapers around the nation via Associated Press.