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Frederick Douglass exhibit opens at Waukegan library


Viewers of an exhibit on Frederick Douglass in Waukegan will be reminded that the onetime slave not only met with President Abraham Lincoln three times in his quest to end slavery, but also a few years earlier with Susan B. Anthony to help women obtain the right to vote. They will learn that they work together. .

A quarter of a century after he and Lincoln advocated for the end of slavery, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Douglass as chief U.S. advisor in Haiti. The exhibit currently on display will be part of Black History Month celebrations in northeastern Lake County.

The Frederick Douglass Equality Defender exhibit opened Monday and will remain on display at the Waukegan Public Library through Feb. 9, giving people a glimpse into the life of a man who fought on every front for equality and equity.

“He was a great American, brave and selfless,” said Library Executive Director Tiffany Verzani. “He did his best for all people, defending human rights and human rights. “He was an inspiration that had a positive impact throughout today.”

The exhibition, on loan from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York, consists of six panels featuring paintings by Douglass and information about him from his birth as a slave in Maryland in 1818 through a life of significant accomplishments.

Near the exhibit are books from the Waukegan Public Library’s collection about Douglass. The library will host other Black History Month events, along with events presented by the Waukegan Park District, through February.

Although Jennyfer Cordova, the library’s director of communications and community engagement, was unable to arrange for the exhibit to be on display during Black History Month, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He said the holiday opening held in his honor was important.

“This is a traveling exhibition. “I found out he was coming to Illinois,” Cordova said. “I felt like there were a lot of people who could learn from this. I wanted it to be here during Black History Month, but it was already planned for other locations in Illinois.

Both Cordova and Verzani said the exhibition taught them about Douglass. He wrote three autobiographies and gave speeches aimed at ending slavery. When the Jim Crow era came, he opposed it. She advocated for women’s rights before slavery was abolished.

“I was surprised he met Abraham Lincoln three times,” Cordova said. “She attended a conference on women’s rights (in 1848). She thought people should have the right to vote so their voices could be heard.”

Verzani, impressed by Douglass’ courage, said his life remains an example of what people can achieve when defending their beliefs. He made an effort to recruit Blacks in the north to help fight in the Civil War.

“He showed great courage in his writings about the abolition,” Verzani said. “He learned that you have to be involved.”

Three years before his death in 1895, Douglass was the commencement speaker at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where 5,000 people gathered to hear him speak. There were 15 graduates in the class.

During Black History month, the library will be giving away themed book bags containing activities. There will be a presentation about African Americans and the arts on February 21, and Connie Martin will talk about spiritual music and the Underground Railroad on February 26 at 4:30 p.m.

In addition to the library’s Black History Month programs, the Waukegan Park District is hosting an African American history exhibit at the Haines House Museum in Bowen Park throughout the month of February. It features local stories such as stops on the Underground Railroad, the segregated community of Frog Island, and the desegregation of Whittier Elementary School.

The Park District will host a spiritual cooking demonstration by Sylvia England. She is the founder of the African American Museum at England Mansion and will demonstrate how to prepare the dishes.

Another event in the Park District is the Black History Celebration, which takes place on February 17 from 4 to 5:30 pm at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts in Bowen Park, featuring music, dance and dramatic readings by African American artists.


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