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A Local Paper Went To Frederick Douglass' Grave To Ask How It Feels To Be "Recognized More And More"

Douglass declined to comment.

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On Wednesday, President Trump kicked off Black History Month with remarks that led many to question whether he actually knows who Frederick Douglass is.

Frederick Douglass did “an amazing job” and CNN is “fake news,” President Trump says in African-American History Mo… https://t.co/cEXA3Y1Zpt

In between complaints about "fake news," Trump spoke of Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks, as well as the renowned abolitionist, orator, and statesman.

"Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice," Trump said.

The peculiar phrasing left many people scratching their heads.

It appears as though Donald Trump has no idea who Frederick Douglass is. https://t.co/3dLNWvJE2q

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you could show trump a photo of tyga, tell him it's frederick douglass and he wouldn't flinch

But seriously, Trump thinks Frederick Douglass was like the first black mailman or something https://t.co/hzPeJUDKL3

In an ~exclusive interview~ on Thursday, columnist David Andreatta stopped by Douglass's grave to ask how it felt to be "recognized more and more" for doing an "amazing job."

View this video on YouTube

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Andreatta writes for the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, New York, where Douglass was buried.

Unfortunately, as Andreatta says in the video, "Douglass declined to comment."

"But I think I speak for us all when I say, Frederick, we wish you well and expect amazing things from you in the future," he says.

"Douglass" later got back with comment.

@david_andreatta @DandC I had just stepped out to grab some free wifi and a latte at Starbucks! #missedconnections #staywarm

Andreatta told BuzzFeed News he decided to do the segment after realizing the "notion of Frederick Douglass being alive and well had taken hold" on social media following Trump's speech.

"My colleagues and I began joking about calling Douglass for comment when the idea of interviewing him hit," he said. "Then we recalled how well Clint Eastwood’s interview of President Barack Obama went over."

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People are loving Andreatta's segment, and are really rooting for Douglass to keep getting "recognized more and more."

.@david_andreatta is an American hero (Douglas will be too if he keeps it up) https://t.co/U3QBUV20ho

Being noticed more and more has gone to Frederick Douglass's head! He will not comment on @realDonaldTrump 's state… https://t.co/SqFa69Sru2

Well played, @david_andreatta. Well played. https://t.co/S8gI4UpXH1

Extremely solid trolling by @david_andreatta at Rochester, NY's @DandC. Keep local journalism alive, folks https://t.co/situo6ltAk

"Douglass is a favorite son of Rochester, New York, where he started the first abolitionist newspaper and died in 1895," Andreatta told BuzzFeed News.

"People here are very proud of him and his accomplishments. He was a courageous, uncompromising and compassionate man with a sharp intellect," he said.

"I suppose you could call his deeds 'amazing,' although that doesn’t feel like a big enough word to describe them."

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

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