TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– A monument for Frederick Douglass is coming to downtown Terre Haute.
A five-foot tall dedication will be placed outside the Hilton Garden Inn, near the intersection of Wabash Avenue and 7th Street, according to Dr. Crystal Reynolds, who helped lead the efforts to have him honored in the city.
Douglass has a deep connection to Terre Haute– he visited the city at least 10 times, campaigned for political candidates, and desegregated the Terre Haute House in 1872. Reynolds said it’s long overdue due celebrate that history.
“Terre Haute allowed him to desegregate this hotel, allowed him to come here as a major speaker for 20 years, allowed him to walk the streets of Terre Haute, and if Terre Haute would not of supported this, it would not have happened,” she said.
Reynolds worked alongside the Mayor Duke Bennett and the City of Terre Haute, as well as the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at Indiana State to finalize the project. Elijah Evelo, the current diversity, equity and inclusion chair for the fraternity, said he was excited to be a part of this effort.
“I would definitely say I’m proud, proud of myself and proud of my fraternity,” he said. “I wanted to make sure my time as chair, I got to do something impactful, something that has a legacy and is long-lasting, something would be beneficial to the community,” he said.
Evelo said he hopes to raise awareness what Douglass’ meant to Terre Haute.
“This is about an esteemed historical figure who’s involvement in our community often goes unnoticed,” he said.
Reynolds said plans are finalized, and they are now working on fundraising for the project. She hopes to have a groundbreaking by the end of November, and said they are targeting February 2024 for a ribbon cutting at the site.
She said she hopes the location– near the heart of downtown– will help interest people in the city’s history.
“I hope people learn more about other great leaders in the United States,” she said. “I hope my passion for history, especially the history of Terre Haute, helps light a fire that more people, especially young people, get interested in history.”