ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Monroe County Legislature voted Tuesday evening to authorize an official name change of the Greater Rochester International Airport to Frederick Douglass International Airport.
In late July, county legislators from both sides of the aisle introduced legislation to make the name change official.
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“People flying into Rochester, into the airport, it will raise his profile, his name recognition, and hopefully people will want to learn more about him,” Kenneth Morris, a direct descendant of Douglass, told News 8.
Richard Glaser, a local activist, started a petition to rename the airport, which garnered close to 5,000 signatures as of Tuesday night.
“It feels good to accomplish something, but this is about Frederick Douglass’ legacy,” Glaser said in an interview with News 8.
“In 1898, when the first statue was erected here, it was a way to welcome people into Rochester,” said Legislature Minority Leader Vincent R. Felder (D- Rochester) at a July press conference. “Now we’re saying people who come into Rochester, who come by plane, the first name they will see now is Frederick Douglass. It is an honor to recommend that this name be changed in his honor.”
“His legacy of support and activism for marginalized populations, especially people of color and women, has lived and on and deserved to be recognized and elevated,” said County Legislator Karla F. Boyce (R- Mendon) at the same press conference. “The name change represents to much of what our Monroe County community stands for currently and what we will continue to work for moving forward: A welcoming place for all those who are here.”
The legislators’ proposal followed local activist Richard Glaser’s online petition directed toward Monroe County Executive Adam Bello to change the name of the airport. Bello himself later said he was supportive of the idea.
The celebrated abolitionist lived in Rochester for 25 years and was buried at the historic Mount Hope Cemetery in the city.