Controversy Surrounds Frederick Douglass Statue - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Controversy Surrounds Frederick Douglass Statue

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This statue of Frederick Douglass was unveiled in Easton last weekend to honor the Talbot County native born in 1818. (Photo: WBOC) This statue of Frederick Douglass was unveiled in Easton last weekend to honor the Talbot County native born in 1818. (Photo: WBOC)

EASTON, Md.- Controversy is surrounding the Frederick Douglass statue recently unveiled in front of the county courthouse in Easton.

Moonyene Jackson-Amis said that in 2002 she began spearheading efforts to honor Douglas, who was born in Talbot County in 1818. In 2004 she claims that she and others from the community formed a non-profit organization called "Fred's Army." Jackson-Amis said the organization raised more than $400,000 to go towards the state and the town of Easton was holding the money in good trust.

However, Jackson-Amis said everything changed in 2009. She claims she was pushed out from working on getting the statue erected, and the town brought in the Frederick Douglass Honor Society.

Easton town officials it had no choice but to take over the project because the project had stalled at the hand's of Fred's Army. Jackson-Amis said that was not the case and that the town and county deliberately stalled the project even though the sculptor was ready to begin his work.

"I don't think Frederick Douglass would appreciate a statue in his memory based on the chaos, confusion and the underhanded shenanigans that took place," Jackson-Amis said.

After the Frederick Douglass Honor Society took over the project, Jackson-Amis said the town of Easton still kept all the money that Fred's Army had raised.

"The thing that troubles me more is that the town had no proprietary interest in those funds. The town under its charter, under its code does not manage a private organization," Jackson-Amis said.

But EastonTown Manager Robert Karge said Easton had every right to keep the money.

"The reason for that is the town was the fiduciary agent and our objective was to create a statue in conjunction with the community, which is what we did," Karge said.

"If I were to agree to handle somebody's money in trust and then I decide I want to take that money, I would be called a thief," Jackson-Amis said.

Eric Lowery, president of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, said after the project changed hands, Jackson-Amis was still asked to work on the project, but declined.

"The make up of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society was made up of past members of Fred's Army. People who were still passionate about having this project completed," Lowery said.

 

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