Brockton as a member of the Douglass Bicentennial Community.
As part of the world-wide commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass in 1818, the FDNA hosted a number of events, starting with "An Evening with Frederick Douglass" on April 12th.
Our travelling exhibit (see details below) was shared with a number of institutions in the city, including the post office, city hall, local schools and the public library.
In July, through the generosity of HarborOneBank, the area around our Liberty Tree was cleaned up and a new retaining wall installed.
In August of 2018 Dr. Gary Hylander, local professor and historian, led a discussion at the library. His focus was on the time Douglass spent in New England.
In October representatives of FDNA travelled to Lynn, Masachusetts for a day that included a tour of the graves of abolitionists in Lynn who were associates of Mr. Douglass, followed by a lively program of spoken word and song at the Washington Street Baptist Church.
Our final event of the year was hosted by the Brockton Assembly of God Church and featured local history teacher and scholar Willie A. Wilson Jr who spoke on "Douglass: The Man, The Myth, The Legacy" and his relevance in today's troubled times.
Our Douglass Bicentennial Exhibit (see information below) has been traveling Brockton and has been on view at City Hall, the Gilmore School, the Main Post Office, and at the Brockton Public Library where it was part of a July 24, 2018 unveiling and event to celebrate the Library's Immigration Dialogue Series Program.
Video of Douglass Exhibit at City Hall
Released as part of the Douglass Bicentennial Community Celebration
For immediate release
February 28, 2018
Contact FDNA - Lynn Smith, 774.381.8050 or
BROCKTON, MA…..The Frederick Douglass Neighborhood Association (FDNA) has released a video highlighting its exhibit on Frederick Douglass that has been on view to the public during the month of February in the historic Brockton City Hall.
City Hall historian Bob Martin and local teacher and historical society member Willie A. Wilson, Jr. provided the commentary for the exhibit, and the priceless Civil War paintings that surrounded in in the Grand Corridor of City Hall. Mr. Martin and Mrs. Wilson were joined for the taping by the President of the Frederick Douglass Neighborhood Association, Lynn Smith.
The exhibit is one of several events planned through the City to honor Frederick Douglass, born in 1818, during this nationwide bicentennial celebration. FDNA has joined the Douglass Bicentennial Community. The United States Congress established a commission to plan and carry out programs across the United States to honor Frederick Douglass, one of the most transformative figures in United States history. Escaping from slavery in 1838, he was a writer, orator, and tireless fighter for equal rights and the end of slavery. During the time of the Civil War, Brockton was known as North Bridgewater. City Hall was built from 1892 to 1894.
Douglass lived in New Bedford from 1838 to 1842, the year he moved to Lynn, Massachusetts. During this time frame he toured for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and gave many speeches in the eastern counties of Massachusetts. It is believed that he visited Brockton (North Bridgewater) during this period of his life. He spoke at a location not far from our Liberty Tree, on Frederick Douglass Avenue, renamed in his honor in 2014.
The video was produced by Brockton Community Access and was filmed by Jay Miller. One of the most impactful moments in the filming was Mr. Martin’s description of “The Spirit of 1861”, a painting depicting a runaway slave escaping north, but facing a cruel pursuit by slave hunters with dogs. “I think that this painting, above all, sets the stage for the current Douglass exhibit,” said Mr. Martin. “The painting almost did not make it into the collection, but it is now an important reminder of the struggle echoed in the exhibit.”
Mr. Wilson during his comments highlighted the painting of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment and its connection to the relationship that Douglass had with President Abraham Lincoln. The President asked Mr. Douglass to encourage black men to join the 54th – but among other issues, Mr. Douglass had grave concerns over the unequal pay scale between white soldiers and black.
To view the video, visit Brockton Community Access at The Brockton Channels on YouTube and click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUhnp4VYBEE
The Douglass Exhibit will travel to the Main Post Office in Brockton on Commercial Street for display during the month of March. Then in August it will move to the Main Branch of the Brockton Public Library. Visitors there will also be able to see the round table made from the 1763 sycamore tree that once stood as a visual cue to Brockton’s stop on the Underground Railroad. Not far from that site is where Mr. Douglass, and many other abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison and Lucretia Mott, spoke out against slavery.