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Frederick Douglass Community Library celebrates Douglass' birthday

Feb 14, 2018

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

A bicentennial birthday celebration was held Wednesday afternoon in honor of Frederick Douglass's chosen birthday.

At the Frederick Douglass Community library on South Avenue, local actor Robert Djed Snead performed as Reverend Jermain Loguen.

Loguen and Douglass were close friends. Both were Underground Railroad station masters, with Loguen in Syracuse sending many people to Rochester. They were also in-laws.

In his performance, Snead talked mostly about the Underground Railroad, and what both men accomplished.

"Taking your manhood when someone else calls your property. Fighting against the odds and making your life count for something, and then, helping others."

Snead says Loguen is his favorite person to bring to life, saying that he is not well remembered but believes his legacy is just as, if not more important than Douglass'.

"During his lifetime, he was called the King of the Underground Railroad. During his lifetime, he and his wife documented that they helped almost 1,500 people through their home in Syracuse get their freedom, get jobs, move on to Canada or stay there."

Mayor Warren has proclaimed 2018 "The Year of Frederick Douglass."

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

For Snead, he says reenacting is important to him because it gets kids interested.

"I think if you can get them imaging when they're young and excited... I used to go to the library and just wander the books. Just pick up a book and just read it. I don’t know if our youth are doing that. So we've got to find a way to get them excited about reading, about knowledge and about history."

The library will also be hosting an event with a Frederick Douglass reenactor on Friday afternoon.