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New Roadside Markers Offer Window into Region’s African-American History

On the 202nd birthday of celebrated abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a new historic roadside marker was unveiled at the only surviving former residence of Douglass and his family in Rochester, N.Y.

As New York State and the nation celebrate Black History Month this February, the “Douglass House” marker at 271 Hamilton St. now stands as a permanent testament to the legacy of Frederick Douglass and the region’s rich African-American history. The new marker is among several commemorating African-American history across the region that have been funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation in recent years. Local history that includes:

  • The Maxwell Settlement, a vibrant African-American community established in Sodus by freedom seekers during the 19th century. (location: 7170 N Geneva Rd., Sodus, NY 14551)
  • Civil rights pioneer Aaron Mossell and his family’s fight to integrate schools during the 1870s in Lockport. (location: 257 Market St., Lockport, NY 14094)
  • The Frederick Douglass family home that once stood on Rochester’s Alexander Street and where freedom seekers were sheltered on the Underground Railroad. (location: 297 Alexander St., Rochester, NY 14607)
  • Lloyd Dorsey, who purchased a home in Trumansburg during the 1850s and is believed to be the community’s first African-American voter. (location: 1 King St., Trumansburg, NY 14886)
  • Hickory Hill in Honeoye Falls where Solomon Scipio, a free African-American man, made his home circa 1808. (location: 95 Keyes Rd., Honeoye Falls, NY 14472)

Currently, the Pomeroy Foundation is accepting marker grant applications for its New York State Historic Marker Grant Program across parts of the Finger Lakes, Western New York and the Southern Tier in the following counties: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins (Region 10); Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates (Region 11); and Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming (Region 12).

The program commemorates historic people, places or things during the years 1740 to 1920. Grants cover the entire cost of a marker, pole and shipping. Applicants should submit an online Letter of Intent to verify primary sources by Monday, March 2, 2020. The final application deadline is Monday, April 6, 2020. Grants are open to local, state and federal government entities, nonprofit academic institutions and 501(c)(3) organizations in New York State. For program guidelines and how to apply, visit the Pomeroy Foundation’s NYS marker program webpage.

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About the Pomeroy Foundation
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation® is a private, grant-making foundation established in 2005. The Foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history; and to raising awareness, supporting research and improving the quality of care for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis. Since 2006, the Foundation has funded more than 1,000 roadside markers and plaques nationwide. Visit:

Media Inquires

Steve Bodnar
Communications Manager
William G. Pomeroy Foundation