ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, community members and advocates commemorated the official renaming of the Greater Rochester International Airport in honor of Frederick Douglass on Sunday morning.
On Valentine’s Day — the day Frederick Douglass celebrated his birthday — it was officially renamed to The Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport. The airport now has new signage and officials are raising money to put up a new statue of Douglass.
“Here in Rochester, we have a long history of people fighting for civil rights and everyone who calls this community home,” Bello said.
Douglass was born into slavery in 1818 and never knew his exact birthday. He chose to celebrate on February 14, because that was the last time he remembered seeing his mother when he was a young boy.
“This is the gateway to freedom and I hope people recognize that as they learn more about Frederick Douglass,” Rev. Julius D. Jackson, who’s a local Frederick Douglass advocate said.
The county plans to have educational materials about Douglass inside the airport.
At a separate even on Sunday, community members also honor Douglass on his birthday by laying wreaths at a memorial site in Highland Park.
Douglass lived in Rochester from 1847 to 1872. He’s buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.