News Release - “Rediscovering Frederick Douglass” Documentary Makes TV, Library Debut for Black Heritage Month in Rochester

City of Rochester

News Release

(Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today –on Frederick Douglass’ birthday– that the documentary “Rediscovering Frederick Douglass,” will make its broadcast debut on TV during Black Heritage Month on both City 12 TV and WXXI-HD. The program will air at 7 and 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21 on City 12 and at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28 on WXXI-HD. DVDs are also available for checkout at all City branch libraries. In addition, DVDs are being donated to all Rochester City School District secondary schools.

Rediscovering Frederick Douglass documents the story of how a photograph of famed abolitionist and eminent human rights leader Frederick Douglass—not seen for more than a century—was discovered in the Rochester Public Library. The historic photo, found during routine repairs of a scrapbook in the Library’s Special Collections, was shared with the public at a special unveiling ceremony at City Hall during Black History Month last year.

“Frederick Douglass is one of Rochester’s most notable citizens. Douglass, a former slave and eminent human rights leader, was profoundly aware of the power photography, as demonstrated in his writings and speeches. We are thrilled to share this story with the community,” said Mayor Warren. “It’s important that we continue to remember the sacrifices he made during his extraordinary life in his tireless fight to abolish slavery as well as his contributions to the women’s suffrage movement. ‘Rediscovering Frederick Douglass’ gives us a new opportunity to honor his legacy and also share his story beyond Rochester.” 

The 30-minute documentary—produced by City Communications Bureau staff members Tiana Stephens and William Schwappacher—investigates the mystery surrounding this fascinating image and explores the ways Douglass used photography as a tool in the fight for social reform.

City 12 can be viewed from any TV set inside city limits connected to the Time Warner Cable system. More information about City 12 may be found at


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo, 428-7135.