Honor Frederick Douglass in Douglas County, Georgia

Honor Frederick Douglass in Douglas County, Georgia

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Citizens' Committee to Honor Frederick Douglass started this petition to Douglasville City Council and

The people of Douglas County, Georgia, call for the creation of an official and annual Frederick Douglass Day to honor the former slave and black political visionary, Frederick Douglass.

The people of this County call for a proclamation declaring the second Saturday of each February, Frederick Douglass Day in the county and the securing and maintenance of a monument to Frederick Douglass in Douglas County, Georgia; location to be determined.

The people of the City of Douglasville and County of Douglas call for the new Hwy. 92 Bypass or one of the new streets associated with the Bypass to be named after Frederick Douglass with a plaque or obelisk commemorating the county’s founding namesake.

The people of this County call for sustained investment in educational materials and programming that is structured around Frederick Douglass Day activities and centered on the important contributions of African Americans in the creation of the county.

Reclaiming Douglas County’s Legacy

Douglas County, Georgia, was originally named Douglass county, with two s’s, after Frederick Douglass.  This petition and its signatories are proof that our County is finally ready to honor its original namesake and legacy.

The bill creating Douglass County was signed into law on October 17, 1870. The original document was recently recovered in the State of Georgia archives. What has long been a local legend is now proven to be a historical fact. The county might not even exist were it not for the votes of Black political leadership in the Georgia State Legislature at the time of its creation.

It is no wonder Frederick Douglass was chosen for the honor. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the early 1800’s. In 1837, Douglass escaped slavery and dedicated his life to eradicating slavery. Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist, a businessman, a writer, Black political visionary, and friend and colleague to the Black political leaders in the Georgia State Legislature of the time.

Douglass fought against Klan rule in the South. He stood with suffragists to expand the right to vote for women. He travelled to Ireland and Great Britain to denounce the Irish Potato Famine. Douglass founded newspapers and served as the president of the Freedman’s Savings Bank that helped free Black people and Black veterans of the Civil War secure loans and financial resources.

Honoring Frederick Douglass speaks to the possibilities he envisioned of a free South before that promise was snuffed out by racist Black Codes and violent expulsions of Black families.

Honoring Frederick Douglass speaks to the possibility that this West Georgia county could have become something better than the Sundown Town it became.

Honoring Frederick Douglass says that, in many ways, we have become, and are still becoming something better.

Honoring Frederick Douglass honors our founders as the ancestors of a transformative version of Black political leadership.

Why Now?

We are calling for a material and meaningful change that is feasible and, all things considered, clearly fair.  The requests we make are meager when compared to the sustained violations they address.

The writings, speeches, and stories of Frederick Douglass denounce the racist killings, the virulent white supremacy, and the mean-spirited demagoguery which sometimes seems to be everywhere.

Frederick Douglass’ legacy calls us to build on the traditions of activism, courage, strength, and resistance that people like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth and many others have embodied.

The legacies of Douglas County's founding figures are demanding. While signing this petition does not settle the debt we owe them, it does allow us to honor them, and in doing so, unequivocally affirm the rights of oppressed peoples.

Signed,

Citizens’ Committee to Honor Frederick Douglass

Douglas County, Georgia, May 2021

To get involved email frederickdouglasscounty@gmail.com

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