Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 April 2015 – OrleansHub.com
MEDINA – The Orleans Renaissance Group and students from Oak Orchard Elementary School joined with other community members to dedicate a historical marker today for Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist who visited the area several times in the mid-1800s.
Douglass lived in Rochester and was a powerful orator and newspaper editor. The historical marker unveiled today on Main Street in Medina highlights two speeches he gave in Medina.
In 1849, Douglass delivered a speech in Medina at the former Methodist Episcopal Church on Main Street (the current Fuller block, home of Main Street Appliance). He also visited Medina in 1869 and gave a celebratory address for Emancipation entitled “We are not yet quite free.” That event on Aug. 3 was attended by African-Americans from throughout the state.
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Michael Kracker, district director for U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, both addressed a crowd of more than 100 people at the dedication, praising the Medina community for honoring Douglass.
Hawley said Douglass deserves the praise and the permanent marker “for all of the work that he did for all of mankind.”
The dedication has been timed with the Civil Encampment organized by Genesee Community College. Medina is hosting that event on the 150th anniversary of the final year of the Civil War. The Encampment continues until Sunday. For a schedule of events, click here.
David Kreutz, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, helps dedicate the historical marker. Ed Brodbeck, who portrays General Ulysses Grant, is at right.
Several community members donated to the marker, including Judge James Punch, Gabrielle and Andina Barone, Medina Sandstone Society, David and Gail Miller, Wilson Southworth, Nunzio Maiorana, Katherine Bogan, Bill Hungerford, Mark Kruzynski, Chris and Cynthia Busch and an anonymous donor.
Busch addressed the group with these closing comments:
“Let these words here, cast in iron, now and for all time, give us pause to remember our intrepid and beloved countryman, Frederick Douglass, and our forebears who stood with him in the cause of freedom and emancipation, in dark and dangerous times, when few had the courage to do so. Let us with this marker never forget their courage, and solemnly pledge to preserve their legacy for all generations.”