University of Rochester

EVENT: Frederick Douglass, a Man with a Hold on Rochester, Attracts Scholars,Leaders for Events Examining His Life, Work

March 21, 2003

Three days of events on March 27, 28 and 29 will offer Rochester a fuller understanding of the multifaceted Frederick Douglass, who escaped from slavery to achieve great distinction in life and death.

Organized by the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies at the University of Rochester, a dozen programs developing the theme of "The Public Life and Work of Frederick Douglass" will be held on the River Campus Thursday evening, March 27, and all day Friday, March 28. Events are free, but registration is required online at or by calling the institute at (585) 275-7235.

Saturday's sessions examining such topics as Douglass as an American icon and black Americans at war will take place at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel on East Main Street downtown. At the same site, the Rochester-Monroe County Freedom Trail Commission is hosting a related conference titled "Men of Color to Arms," focusing on Civil War themes and the contributions of African-American soldiers. On-site registration is required for those events. Special luncheon and dinner programs, including former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher speaking at 6 p.m. March 28, also require tickets.

Historian David W. Blight, an expert on Douglass and one of the nation's foremost authorities on the Civil War and its legacy, will open the sessions at the University of Rochester at 7 p.m. March 27 in Hoyt Hall. Specialists from other academic disciplines will look at Douglass (1818-1895) through the lens of literature, gender, and international relations as well as other perspectives in Friday's and Saturday's programs.

An exhibit of important documents on Douglass, who spent 25 years in Rochester, is open in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University's Rush Rhees Library. Admission is free. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

A companion conference will be held at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in September. Douglass lived the later part of his life there.