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Douglass statue on Alexander is replaced


Less than a week after vandalism brought down one of the 13 statues of Frederick Douglass that have been placed around Rochester, a replacement has been installed.

On Thursday, more than 100 people gathered at the intersection of Tracy and Alexander Streets for the installation. Carvin Eison, project director of the yearlong bicentennial celebration that created the statues, said Rochester still battles many of the same issues the famed abolitionist dealt with many years ago. The monument, he said, represents the values that Douglass stood for.

“In the modern world," Eison said, "we still have to deal with injustice in education, right? And criminal justice. We will stand, and we will not allow the monument to be desecrated. We must also stand up for all those other issues 'cause those are the issues that we face right now."

The Alexander Street statue is on the site of a school Douglass's daughter attended. The daughter was placed in a classroom by herself after another parent complained about her enrollment, and at Thursday's ceremony, two local high school students read a letter written by Douglass in response to his daughter's treatment.

The crowd on Thursday included 33 students from Genesee Community Charter School. “We thought it was a prime opportunity to show support for Rochester and lift up the legacy of Frederick Douglass," said their teacher, Alexis Stubbe, "as well as remind these kids that there’s power in voice.”

Two St. John Fisher College students John Boedicker, of Endicott, Broome County, and Charles Milks of Kenmore have been charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, in connection with the statue’s destruction. Both have been suspended from Fisher, pending further action regarding their cases.

St. John Fisher President Gerard Rooney attended the re-installation of the statue on Thursday.

“It’s my commitment to you today," he said, "that we as a campus community will earn the respect of the Rochester community to restore the reputation of St. John Fisher College, and to renew our commitment to this great community in honoring the legacy of Frederick Douglass.”