Designation Testimony

Testimony for Proposed Frederick Douglass Memorial Park Individual Landmark


– Frederick Douglass Memorial Park – 3201 Amboy Road


A 14.88-acre cemetery designed by J. Wallace Higgins and opened in 1935

As the citywide advocate for New York’s architectural, historical and cultural neighborhoods, The Historic Districts Council supports the designation of The Frederick Douglass Memorial Park on Staten Island as an Individual New York City Landmark.

Offering dignified burial for Black New Yorkers since 1935, The Frederick Douglass Memorial Park serves as the final resting place for such cultural luminaries as jazz and blues singer Mamie Smith, jazz trumpeter Tommy Ladnier and baseball player and author Sol White.

LPC research staff points out that The Frederick Douglass Memorial Park’s “design followed 20th-century memorial park models with an emphasis on the landscaping and the beauty of nature.” Flat stone grave markers, such as those found at Frederick Douglass Memorial Park, are often a feature of Memorial Parks. Keith Eggener, author of the book Cemeteries notes that in Memorial Park settings, among the flat stones, there are “occasional markers rising up, which will be identified as hope.” He adds, “The emphasis is…on hope, and the focus is on beauty, on art, on hopefulness.”

HDC is glad that this meaningful, hopeful space, deeply reflective of Black history in New York, and in Staten Island in particular, will be recognized as an Individual Landmark. HDC supports further designations of historic resources on Staten Island, and hopes the Commission will consider several more soon.

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