SW Corner, South Ave. and Robinson Dr., Rochester, New York | Officially Marked Monument
This imposing statue of abolitionist, orator, and journalist Frederick Douglass was sculpted by Sidney W. Edwards. Originally it was sited before the Rochester train station at Central Avenue and St. Paul Street, where it was dedicated in 1899. It was moved to a location overlooking the Highland Park Bowl and rededicated on September 4, 1941.
In 2019 the original statue was moved several hundred feet north-by-northeast to a more conspicuous location. The statue anchors a new Frederick Douglass Memorial Square on the southwest corner of South Avenue and Robinson Drive. The relocation makes the statue immediately visible to motorists, as well as Highland Park visitors, year-round. In addition, for the first time the statue has been illuminated to be better seen at night.
The relocated statue is accompanied by black tubular sculptural objects (far right). They include holes patterned to recall stars in the night sky. Escaping slaves often traveled northward by night, navigating by the stars.
Each tube depicts the stars around and including the Big and Little Dippers. By extending an imaginary line from the two rightmost stars of the Big Dipper to the Little Dipper, one can positively locate Polaris, the North Star that points the way north from anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Escaping slaves used this method to make their way north; The North Star was also the name of Douglass's best-known abolition newspaper, edited in a downtown Rochester building that survives today.