Skip to main content

Community Scholar in Residence

Dr. David A. Anderson/Sankofa

David A. Anderson, Ph.D., is the Community Scholar in Residence in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Education at Nazareth College. In that role he has worked with the Center for Service-Learning to engage students in reviewing the Underground Railroad freedom struggle as it unfolded in this region.

In 2007, a guided collaboration between students and faculty from Nazareth and Monroe Community College produced a ten-panel visual display that premiered at the Frederick Douglass International Underground Railroad Conference. co-sponsored by Rochester-Monroe County Freedom Trail Commission, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati).

Anderson chairs the Freedom Trail Commission, striving to make the personalities and events that characterized the Underground Railroad more accessible. In 2003, the Commission and USCT Institute co-sponsored, "Men of Color, to Arms!" a major conference illuminating Frederick Douglass's role in overturning policies barring African Americans from serving as Union soldiers.

Annually, the Commission sponsors, "On Behalf of Those Who Lie in Yonder Hallowed Ground," a symposium and commemoration of the United States Colored Troops with connection to the Rochester area. Anderson is Senior Fellow, United States Colored Troops Institute for Local History and Family Research, and a founding member of the United States Colored Troops Living History Association.


David Anderson crafts and performs living history reenactments, e.g., as Civil War veteran, George Brown, Rev. Thomas James (founder of Rochester's 179 year old A.M.E. Zion Church), pioneer freedom fighters Austin Steward, Frederick Douglass, and other exemplars. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, he performed as Frederick Douglass in re-creation of the 1854 Anti-Slavery Convention, at Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania. For symposia of the United States Colored Troops organizations, he has performed similar roles in Kinston, New Bern and Raleigh, North Carolina; at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Oneonta, New York.

He was a featured storyteller at the "Clearwater Greater Hudson River Revival" in 2002; "Men of Storytelling, Live at the DuSable Museum," Chicago, 2002. In 1995, he performed as Frederick Douglass at the centennial observance of Douglass's death. Since 1981, he has been a featured storyteller at schools, colleges and other settings in 24 states, and in Ghana, West Africa.

Anderson, is a founder of Blackstorytelling League of Rochester, Inc., and, of Akwaaba: the Heritage Associates, Inc., interpreters of African American cultural heritage. In 2000 he co-directed the 18th Annual National Black Storytelling Festival and Conference. He was recipient of the National Association of Black Storyteller’s Zora Neal Hurston Award.

Annually, he convenes community-wide celebrations of Kwanzaa in Rochester.


  • Kwanzaa: an Everyday Resource and Instructional Guide (1991)
  • The Origin of Life on Earth: an African Creation Myth (named Outstanding Children's Book on Africa, 1992, and performed as dance-theatre by Ashe', 2000-2004)
  • The Rebellion of Humans: an African Spiritual Journey (1994)
  • Published in In Daddy's Arms I am Tall (1994)
  • Images Afro Rochester, 1910-1935 (1996)
  • Jump Up and Say (1998)
  • He is preparing a storybook on Rochester pioneer, Austin Steward, who spent 22 years in chattel slavery.

Other Awards

  • The 2008 Pioneer Award (City of Rochester Black Heritage Committee)
  • Sankofa Award (Ashe' Cultural Arts Center, New Orleans, 2004)
  • Dr. Charles Terrell Lunsford Distinguished Community Service Award(Urban League of Rochester, 2004)
  • James Mamba McCuller Award for Excellence (Action for a Better Community, 2003)
  • Culture & Arts Award (Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce, 1998)
  • Outstanding Contributions to the Arts (Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, 1996).


Ruth and David Anderson are parents of three adults: David M., Kenwood M., and Joanine C.


In 1975, he earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration, The Union Institute and University, Cincinnati; MA, Education, Syracuse U., 1963; BFA, Photography, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1960.

Personal tools