Witness to Change

Sep 05, 2022 by Rose O'Keefe

It was another magnificent summer day on Saturday (9.3) when the Frederick Douglass Family Initiative held a powerful, poignant ceremony in Mount Hope Cemetery. It was for the unveiling of two new gravestones placed next to the massive stone slab for Frederick Douglass: one for his wife Anna and the other for their daughter Annie. FDFI executive director Erica Mock organized the project from getting new stones, to arranging for speakers and performers, in a life-changing event for Douglass family descendants and the community. It was wonderful to see Erica gasp at the joint proclamation from Rochester Mayor Malik Evans and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, proclaiming Sept. 3, Anna Murray and Annie Douglass Day. Thank you to Rochester Area Community Foundation for supporting this impressive event.

Sometimes the pile of books around my desk gets really high and stays that way longer than planned. A few books that are getting returned to the library or recycled include the freebie, Where Do you Get Your Ideas? (1987) by Sandy Asher. It was a pleasure to skim through the chapters on “Stories Behind the Stories.” Perfect bedtime reading. Years ago I read Walter D. Edmonds, The Musket and the Cross (1968) about the vicious French and Indian Wars, and recently read his Newbery Award winner, The Matchlock Gun. That little voice that said, let’s read some more of his works, got a rude awakening with In the Hands of the Senecas (1937.) Even if details of the story are factually true, the racism against the Senecas was so strong it was repulsive. There must be a better way to retell our collective history. I’ve started his Mostly Canallers: Collected Stories (1934) about the Erie Canal. Two stories in, he didn’t hold back on portraying the ugliness of competitors on the early days of the historic canal. Ouch.  

blog post. https://rokeefehistory.com/blog #amreading; #RochesterNY; #HarrietTubmanDay; #WesleyWofford; #JacquelineSprague; #SusanTaylorBrown; #FDFI; #MountHopeCemetery; #EricaMock; #RACF; #SandyAsher; #summerinWNY; #WalterEdmonds;