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Hillsdale College is in the process of commissioning a statue of famed 19th-century orator Frederick Douglass.

Chief Staff Officer to the President Mike Harner said the college has not set a time for when the statue might be dedicated, but typically, a dedication ceremony comes 12-15 months after a statue is commissioned.

The statue will be placed in Kresge Plaza, next to Lane Hall, where it will join the statue of Abraham Lincoln and the Alpha Kappa Phi Civil War monument.

“Douglass has been thought of since the Liberty Walk was thought of,” Harner said. “His ideas regarding human nature and rights are important to us.”

Harner said the plans are currently being developed in committee.

“When you take a commission, there is usually a patron, which we have,” he said.

Douglass was first announced at the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Gala, where scholarships in his name were announced.

The Douglass statue joins five other statues on the Liberty Walk, which began with George Washington in 2003.

“The Liberty Walk is a tribute to those who came before us who have particular ideas about human nature and freedom,” Harner said. It’s a reminder to us and honors their memory and points a way forward.”

Provost David Whalen said the Walk not only honors those important to the American experiment of self-government and the principles of human liberty, but also those individuals who are important in the history of the college.

“Not only did Douglass speak here, but it was in Hillsdale that one of the most famous photos of Douglas was taken,” Whalen said in an email. “The power of his intelligence, the vigor of his moral commitments, and the grace of his verbal expression make him, I believe, a fitting figure for honor not only at a liberal arts institution, but at this one in particular.”

  • Susanna Pyron

    Dear Dr. Whalen,
    I enjoyed your lectures very much at the Barney Classical School Seminars.
    Please thank all those people for having the Frederick Douglass statue on campus. His contribution to the elimination of slavery is monumental. His autobiography should be read by everyone.
    May God bless you and the Hillsdale College.
    Susanna Pyron