Legacy of famed abolotionist Frederick Douglass will live on at WCU
WEST CHESTER >> The inaugural Dr. Clifford E. DeBaptiste Frederick Douglass Institute Lecture series will begin formally on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. featuring its first guest lecturer, Dr. C. James Trotman, author of “Frederick Douglass: A Biography,” who will discuss the importance of equality, diversity, and inclusion in today’s America.
In a fitting tribute to the great abolitionist, orator, and statesman, the first lecture will be held on the University’s Academic Quad alongside the majestic statue of Frederick Douglass, which stands in commemoration of the abolitionist’s last public lecture on WCU’s campus and was erected in 2006 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The lecture, which is open to the public free of charge, is hosted by the Frederick Douglass Institute and is made possible through the generous gift of DeBaptiste, the first African-American mayor of West Chester Borough and a recognized champion of education.
As part of the inaugural effort, DeBaptiste will be honored for his vast contributions to the Chester County community by President of the Citizen Recognition Project Jeffery Brown, who will also present the Walk of Fame plaque to the former mayor. Among the event’s highlights will be an address by West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino, and the sharing of the institute’s history by Director of the Frederick Douglass Institute Christian Awuyah.
“Our students and those who live in the community are fortunate to be aligned with an individual who is deeply committed to advancing humanity and initiating rich conversations about the legacy of a man whose life merits much reflection,” said Fiorentino. “Thanks to Dr. DeBaptiste’s generosity, all of us can become well-rounded citizen scholars by studying Douglass’ example, examining issues of social justice, and improving the present by learning from the past. We are equally proud that West Chester University’s Frederick Douglass Institute will be taking the lead in coordinating these particularly relevant lectures for many years to come.”