|In a ceremony on February 8, 2001,
the State of Wisconsin, Dodge County, and the City of Beaver Dam erected the state
marker shown on the left to honor Frederick Douglass' appearance in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin,
on October 20, 1856, on behalf of the presidential campaign of John C. Fremont.
The texts of Douglass' two orations that day have
not survived, but late in 1999 Beaver Dam area historian Kevin Dier-Zimmel stumbled on the
story of the visit in the pages of the Dodge County Citizen while researching
anti-slavery activism in the area.
Recognizing the significance of Douglass'
appearance in the long history of anti-slavery activity in Wisconsin, Dier-Zimmel
solicited Todd Stuart, an aide to Lt. Governor Scott McCallum, and State Senator Gary
George for a marker commemorating Douglass' visit. Receiving their encouragement,
Dier-Zimmel enlisted the support of Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Olson and Joe D. Rose, a
researcher with the Historic Preservation Division of the State Historical Society.
Also lending his assistance was Mike Miller, a Capital Times reporter with whom
Dier-Zimmel has written a series of articles on Wisconsin's anti-slavery figures in the
Dodge County area. Through their encouragement and support, the marker will be erected as
a permanent memorial of Douglass' Wisconsin ties.
See Miller and Dier-Zimmel's "Former slave fought for
freedom for others" (Capital Times Online Archive) for additional background.
The marker was erected on February 8,
2001. Attending from left to right, front row, were George
Salter, Mayor Tom Olson, Kevin Dier-Zimmel, Jeff Fitzgerald, Leon Young, DeJustice
Johnnie Morris-Tatum, and Spencer Coggs.