ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new mural featuring the wife and daughter of Frederick Douglass was vandalized, days before it was scheduled to be unveiled.

540WMain commissioned a couple of artists to paint murals of Anna Douglass and Rosetta Douglass Sprague on a Rochester street connected to them in history.

540WMain founder Calvin Eaton says the murals are part of a larger purpose, to raise awareness of the Black women who are often overlooked, and also spread anti-racism.

“Frederick Douglass lived on Alexander Street over 100 years ago,” Eaton said. “So we wanted to have a mural in this neighborhood that honored Anna and Rosetta.”

LaShonda Davis, one of the artists commissioned for the project, was frustrated to see their efforts to create an uplifting gift for the Rochester community defaced. She now fears her intended message isn’t getting through.

“One time I came out it said ‘RPD are Nazis,'” Davis said. “Another time I came out it said something about anti-vaxxers, another one – ‘politicians are terrorists.’ The message is getting lost in this particular environment.”

Davis says she’s been an artist for 6 years and often she’s seen new murals face pushback, but typically once they are completed the community is supportive. They’ve already had to repaint this one three times.

“I’m not speaking for Lucy, the other artist,” Davis said. “I don’t know if a visual artist is the way to get messages across anymore.”

540WMain has decided to reconvene on the project to reimagine the mural, whether it be moved inside, turned into a wall mural, or moved to a new location.

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