About our namesake
On December 21, 2017, the Indy Parks Board approved the clarification of Douglass Park’s name to more accurately reflect the park’s namesake. In 1921, the park was named for the great nineteenth-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. With this approval, the park’s signage was changed to and is now referred to as Frederick Douglass Park. A community celebration to honor the “new” name. was held in February 2018.
Born a slave in 1817 in Tuckahoe, Maryland, Frederick Douglass escaped to freedom to become one of the leading abolitionists of the time. After relocating to Massachusetts, Douglass attended anti-slavery meetings where he began giving speeches on the topic. Douglass was widely recognized for his eloquent speaking ability.
He was soon appointed to the position of agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and spoke extensively throughout New England and the middle states. He also produced an anti-slavery weekly newspaper known as the North Star.
Frederick Douglass Park, which is part of Indy Parks, is a community park located on the near east side of Indianapolis at Andrew J. Brown and East 25th Street. The 43-acre park was established in 1921 and is in the Martindale-Brightwood Community. A swimming pool was added in 1927. Martindale, in the late 19th and throughout the 20th Century, was a segregated community for African Americans, which is still reflected in the predominantly African American population you see in the area today.
Brightwood was settled by European immigrants, primarily German, Irish, British, and their recent descendants in the late 19th and through the mid-20th Century. All these groups were attracted to the area by work created by several railroads and industries that had primarily developed in the Brightwood community. By the 1960s, the European-American families began to migrate out of Brightwood, a void filled by African Americans.
Indy Parks connects communities by providing places and experiences that inspire healthy living, social engagement, and a love of nature. Indy Parks serves 8 million people annually and offers 212 parks, 153 miles of trails, 129 playgrounds, 23 recreation and nature centers, programs, pools, sports fields, and so much more. Visit parks.indy.gov or call (317) 327-PARK for more details.
All public meetings will be held in person and virtually on Zoom. Please register for Zoom meetings below.
7/7/21 at 6:00 p.m.
Centennial Celebration Town Hall: Design Presentation