Frederick Douglass Gives Lecture in Syracuse Advocating Mass Slave Liberation
November 14, 1861
On November 14, 1861, Frederick Douglass gave a controversial lecture at the Wieting Opera House in Syracuse urging that slaves be freed en masse to ensure a Union victory in the Civil War. Faced with the possibility that protesters opposed to Douglass would storm the Opera House, owner John Wieting and Syracuse Mayor Charles Andrews resolved that the speech would go forward. Scores of police officers backed by soldiers from the Second Onondaga Regiment protected the Opera House, and Douglass delivered the lecture without incident.