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Frederick Douglass

Dear University community:

Last week, the University of Maryland celebrated the legacy and life of abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass, one of the most important Marylanders of all time.  We officially dedicated Frederick Douglass Square as both a classroom and commemorative space where we all may contemplate, celebrate and extend Frederick Douglass' mission. 

I am pleased to share with you this special video honoring Frederick Douglass and the new square that now marks an honored place on our campus at Hornbake Plaza.

Frederick Douglass Square brings him home to the state of his birth; to the place where he endured incredible hardship and remarkable enlightenment; to a home, at the center of the state's flagship campus, where he will serve as a reminder of the quest for freedom, justice and the rights of all people - especially the oppressed - in a democracy.

Inspired by Distinguished University Professor Ira Berlin, who decried that there was no recognition of Frederick Douglass on this campus, this five-year project was championed by a group of campus citizens known as the North Stars.  The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust, which is part of the Maryland Department of Planning, also provided key support.  President Loh provided crucial funding and encouragement, and Provost Rankin, my fellow deans and hundreds of dedicated faculty, staff, contractors and friends generously donated time, financial resources and support to make Frederick Douglass Square a reality.

Frederick Douglass' words - carved into the paving stones and corten wall surrounding a majestic statue near the center of the square - place the ideals he articulated so eloquently at the heart of this great institution.  Yet his words and his image also challenge us all to recommit to these ideals and to breathe contemporary meaning into the fundamental relationship between education and freedom.


Bonnie Thornton Dill

Dean, College of Arts and Humanities