To build strong children and to end
systems of exploitation and oppression.

October 20, 2020

Dear Friend,

Authors of the book, Picturing Frederick Douglass, called Douglass the “Most Photographed American of the Nineteenth Century.” Yet, there are only two known images of Anna Murray Douglass, Frederick’s wife and partner during 44 years of marriage.

As a way to honor this great woman during the Centennial of the 19th Amendment, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI), headquartered in Rochester, NY, would like Rochester area students to help us imagine how Anna may have looked in portraits during different stages of her life: Ages 5-25, 26-45, and 46-69. Elementary, Middle and High School level* students in the Rochester area are invited to submit one image of Anna at any one of the three stages in her life.

How does Anna appear in your creative rendering? Her clothing? Her hair? Her eyes? Her smile? What’s in the background? Black and white or color? Choose any medium you wish: pencil drawing, pastels, oils paints, or mixed medium. It’s up to you… and the best images will win a cash prize! A prize of $500 will be given to one person at each level (Elementary, Middle and High School) plus $250 to two runners-up at each level. A total of $3,000 in cash will be given to young people who can expand our vision of Anna’s Life in Portrait.

The Anna Murray Douglass Life in Portrait Contest is co-curated by FDFI, Rochester Contemporary Arts Center (ROCO) and the Rochester Association of Black Journalists (RABJ). Art experts, historians and journalists will review each work of art and select the winners. Stay tuned for more details.

*Levels are defined as: Elementary (ages 8-10), Middle (ages 11-13) and High School (14-18). All students attending elementary and secondary schools in Monroe County, NY, are eligible to win. Entries must be received by November 20, 2020, at 5 pm Eastern Time. Image sizes may range from 8.5” x 11” to 11” x 14”.

Click here to read the press release.

Click here to read the contest details and rules.


Entries must be received by Friday, November 20, 2020, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time.

Eligible participants may submit either digital or hard-copy versions of their artwork for entering the Contest. Digital copies may be attached to an email and sent to:

Hard-copy entries may be delivered to FDFI at 140 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14604. Hours of operation are restricted by Covid 19 protocol. Please email to let us know when you would like to drop off your artwork.

Within 24-hours of submitting your artwork, you will receive a notification of receipt. If you do not receive a notification with 24-hours, call 585-286-9029.


If you, your company or your organization wish to participate as sponsors, please email Robert Benz, Your support will go directly toward student cash prizes and contest promotion.

Student artwork will be displayed at FDFI’s new Headquarters that has been gifted by CGI. Please consider a contribution to help support this contest and to help FDFI expand our work and presence, so we can continue to impact the lives of young people everywhere.

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In freedom,
Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives

Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives moves into downtown space