Kenneth B. Morris Jr.


Mel Evans

During a celebration at Rutgers University–Newark, Alumni Field was renamed Frederick Douglass Field to honor the 19th-century civil rights pioneer. His great-great-great-grandson Kenneth B. Morris Jr. (pictured) spoke at the event, which attracted 200 descendants of local abolitionists. On April 17, 1849—170 years ago to the day—abolitionist leaders invited Douglass to address Newark’s Plane Street Colored Church (a.k.a. First African Presbyterian Church), which stood on the site of the Rutgers–Newark athletics field. The land was also a stop on the Underground Railroad; the ceremony acknowledged  the abolitionists who ran it. An installation—designed by student Noelle Lorraine Williams and featuring a metal cutout of Douglass set on a background of historical accomplishments by Newark’s African-American settlers—will soon be mounted.