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Frederick Douglass mural unveiled at the airport that bears his name

Elected officials joined descendants, family members and many others on Friday for the unveiling of the Frederick Douglass mural at the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.

The airport was named after the famous abolitionist earlier this year, and now there’s a mural that millions of people will get to see when they visit or leave Rochester.

County Executive Adam Bello said that it’s his hope this reminds and educates residents and visitors of the region about the values that Douglass stood for, and the values that we strive for as a community.

"This mural will truly reflect what we hold important and fundamental. The fight for equality, freedom and inclusion that Frederick Douglass championed,” Bello said.

County Legislator Vincent Felder, who co-chaired the airport renaming advisory committee, said that something like this places Douglass in the place that he deserves to be, as one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.

Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin was also at the ceremony. He said that it’s important millions of people see the image of Douglass each year and understand his history.

"I know there's a lot of debate right now about education, and what are kids learning or not learning? All we need to make sure that everyone learns is the truth and learns it fairly and justly, that is all we need to do,” said Benjamin.

Kenneth B. Morris, Douglass' great-great-great-grandson, also attended the ceremony.

He told the story of a young boy who came up to Douglass and asked him what advice he would give to a young person who is interested in fighting for freedom and equality.

"And without hesitation, the great white-haired statesman and abolitionist looked at the young man and said, ‘Agitate, agitate, agitate.'"

Morris added that he believes the spirit of Douglass and his family can be a unifying force in bringing people together, and the mural goes a long way toward introducing that legacy.

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.