On Sunday, April 7, 1889, Frederick Douglass spoke to the residents of St. Augustine at this spot. Of course his speech took place at the Genovar Opera House which burnt in a fire in 1914. Douglass spoke to nearly 700 people at this site and was formally introduced by the city mayor, William Dewhurst. Known for his friendship with the late President Lincoln and his extensive work in freeing slaves, Douglass had made quite a name for himself.
During Douglass’ speech to the prominent citizens of the area he discussed issues in civil rights for freed slaves in the South. He wanted to spread a message that the African Americans of the area were in search of equal treatment and opportunity. It is said that after the speech people gathered in a standing ovation and joined in singing the national anthem.
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