Object Name: Ceremonial New York City street sign for Frederick Douglass Landing
Dimensions: Overall: 9 x 36 in. (22.9 x 91.4 cm)
Description: One-sided metal street sign, green with white lettering. "FREDERICK DOUGLASS / LANDING"; white upper and lower borders.
Credit Line: Gift of Jacob Morris and Barnestine Morris
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Object Number: 2006.25
Jacob Morris, an independent scholar and educational consultant whose fields of interest include research into the Underground Railroad, was active in efforts to persuade New York City to rename a section of Chambers Street in honor of Frederick Douglass and his passage to freedom.
Born a slave on a plantation in Maryland, Douglass succeeded in escaping from slavery in September 1838 after previous attempts had failed. Although his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, reveals how Douglass felt upon arriving and living in New York, it is intentionally silent about the details of his journey along the Underground Railroad and his place of landing. It has been determined, however, that after traveling by train and boat he arrived at the Chambers Street Dock, an area now comprised of landfill and the site of Stuyvesant High School. Working with residents of Battery Park City and Community Board #1, supporters of the street re-naming succeeded in their efforts when Mayor Bloomberg signed enabling legislation changing the names of forty-five streets and other public places on May 9, 2005. Frederick Douglass Landing street signs were posted on September 22, 2005.