OPINION | Ken Pittman: Is Anything in New Bedford Named After Frederick Douglass?
Finally, the rest of the nation seems to be paying the correct homage to a legendary American who once called New Bedford home. So what is our problem?
An insignificant stretch of Elm Street in back of the garage, Frederick Douglass Way, is the only thing named after this truly great American. Conversely, many new schools, fields, etc., have been named after far less famous and comparatively inconsequential men and women of history—and in particular, New Bedford history.
Douglass was a living monument and proof of the dignity, wisdom, and intelligence black Americans possessed, yet millions remained in slavery and the nation condoned it.
He was as big a force for abolition as almost anyone in American history. God, there should have been five movies about him already.
This was a particularly gifted and courageous man, and it took a remarkable gentleman like this to further advance the conscience of white citizens to call for an end to slavery itself.
I don't believe one more brick, one more highly visible intersection or bridge in New Bedford should be named for anyone else, until it is agreed upon that Mr. Douglass is to be rightfully and appropriately honored.
He may have been a Maryland native, but his mark in history includes a large chapter in New Bedford. My recommendation is to rename New Bedford High School after him, or at least agree that the next one built will be.
Ken Pittman is a talk show host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.