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Tracing Frederick Douglass’ Visit to St. Augustine

A plaque has been placed at the site where Frederick Douglass spoke to the people of St. Augustine in 1889. Visitors and locals alike can now view the historical significance behind his visit and the information that he hoped to spread.


On Sunday, April 7, 1889, Frederick Douglass spoke to the residents of St. Augustine at this spot. Of course his speech took place at the Genovar Opera House which burnt in a fire in 1914. Douglass spoke to nearly 700 people at this site and was formally introduced by the city mayor, William Dewhurst. Known for his friendship with the late President Lincoln and his extensive work in freeing slaves, Douglass had made quite a name for himself.

During Douglass’ speech to the prominent citizens of the area he discussed issues in civil rights for freed slaves in the South. He wanted to spread a message that the African Americans of the area were in search of equal treatment and opportunity. It is said that after the speech people gathered in a standing ovation and joined in singing the national anthem.

Violet Sky’s Visit

Finding this plaque was one of those things that you occasionally stumble across while walking about. I learned all about his visit and it was a unique stop along the journey through the historic city.

How to Visit

The site is free to visit and is located in downtown historic St. Augustine. To see the plaque, head on down to St. George Street.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Frederick Douglass Visits St Augustine, FL

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