Contact: Robert J. Benz at (585) 310-4559

Frederick Douglass Family Expresses Gratitude
For Rochester Airport Name Change


(August 11, 2020, Rochester, NY) Direct descendants of Frederick Douglass responded tonight to reports from the Monroe County Legislature that they had voted to change the name of the area’s international airport. 

“I got very emotional when I heard the news,” said Nettie Washington Douglass, great-great-granddaughter of Frederick Douglass. “This is an incredible honor for the Douglass family which includes all of the residents of Rochester, New York. Thanks to everyone who made this possible including Richard Glaser, who started the name change petition, and the Monroe County Legislature.  I can’t wait to hear the captain say, ‘Welcome to Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport!’” Ms. Douglass is also the great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington and Chair of Rochester-based, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI).

Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., President of FDFI and Ms. Douglass’s eldest son, reflected on what the name change means both historically and for the future of Rochester. “Frederick Douglass was one of the most well-traveled Americans of the nineteenth century so, there’s no doubt, he would be a frequent flier in the twenty-first century. Douglass called Rochester his home and he chose this as his final resting place. By honoring this particular historical figure in this way, I believe that Rochester is saying something important about itself: it wants to be a national center for individual rights and justice.”

Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives is an Abolitionist and AntiRacist organization co-founded by direct descendants of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. Its mission is To build strong children and to end systems of exploitation and oppression. From their headquarters in Rochester, NY, FDFI is working to end racial inequity. They have been a national leader in implementing human trafficking prevention education curricula in classrooms nationally since 2007.  Register for the next Frederick Douglass Dialogues webinar, August 27, 2020. Learn more at

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