Plano’s Douglass Community is named after Frederick Douglass. Douglass (1818-1895) was a well-known African-American writer, orator, and statesman who worked for social reform and abolition. He became a national leader of the abolitionist movement after escaping slavery in Maryland and going north, gaining recognition for his insightful and cogent antislavery writing and oration. Contemporary abolitionists said he directly contradicted the argument that slaves were incapable of acting as independent citizens, while Northerners at times disbelieved that a former slave could be such a powerful orator.
The wayside sign features the mosaic mural “Tracks of Our Past & Future” by Shug Jones and Lynne Chinn. A vibrant tribute to the past, present, and future of the Douglass Community, Tracks of Our Past & Future was a project initiated by Douglass residents and commissioned by the Douglass Community Arts Advisory. After five years of planning, the mural was dedicated on June 17th, 2006 at 12th St. and I Avenue as a part of Plano’s Juneteenth celebrations.
Illustrating the span of history since Andy Drake became the first African American to move to Plano, a focal point of the mural depicts one of Drake’s ancestors arriving to town as an ox driver from Louisiana. A forefather of some of the city’s largest families, many of Drake’s descendants continue to call Plano their home.
The wayside sign is located in Stimpson and Drake Park, 1212 H Avenue, Plano, Texas 75074.