BY Briana Baldwin
The Frederick Douglass statue has been a member of Lincoln University’s family since its unveiling during Homecoming week in October 1989. Since then, the statue has set up shop directly in the middle of campus, greeting new classes of students each year.
Donated by Lincoln alumni Clyde Atwell ’37 and his brothers Selwyn R. Atwell ’41 and Dr. George L. Atwell ’48, this statue was given great expectations from the start.
In an address to the students during the unveiling, Clyde Atwell said, “It is the hope of my brothers and me that what we have done here today will be duplicated in many of the African American universities, communities, schools and churches”
Over the years, students consider the statue to be a meeting place to share their experiences of not only being LU students, but African American achievers as well.
However, it has recently been the decision of LU’s president Ivory Nelson to change the location of the statue. Now, the statue sits in what many students call the “quad” area.
The “quad” was given its name due to the four dormitories that occupy the surrounding space. The “quad” consists of Rendall Hall, Ashmun Hall, Frederick Douglass Hall, and McRary Hall.
Students are now wondering why the statue was moved into the “quad” and what will happen to the space where the statue once stood.
DeWayne Walker, the vice president of internal affairs in the Student Government Association said, “When I spoke with President Nelson he said that he wanted the area to be for walking and that he planned to place benches there as well. The statue is not going back there because plans are to keep him in the quad, so this way there will more space for students to do step shows or any other kind of interaction.”
Although the location of the Frederick Douglass statue has changed, the significance of it has not dwindled.
“I feel [the statue] is a prominent figure on campus not just for African Americans but for black people every where,” Walker said. “It symbolizes who we are as a people and where we came from.”
Unfortunately, other LU students are not getting used to the new location of the statue.
Senior Ebony Brown said, “I think the Frederick Douglass statue should have stayed where it was. It was welcoming to see the statue right there in the middle of the campus, like he was greeting us at the door. Now, he’s just awkward sitting in the quad.”
Even though the Frederick Douglass statue has a new home on campus, LU students still appreciate his prescence and the lingering feeling of pride it exudes as they travel back and forth to their classes.