O’Connor Institute Hosts Incredible Evening Featuring the Life of Frederick Douglass

The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy held its annual History Dinner on Nov. 4, 2023, at The Phoenician Resort. This year’s featured historical figure was Frederick Douglass.

Presenting Sponsor: Burton Family Foundation

Event Co-Chairs: Nita & Phil Francis and Lois & Steve Savage

Honorary Chairs: Sharon & Dr. Oliver Harper and Jan & Tom Lewis

Keynote Speaker & Spirit of Democracy Award Recipient: David W. Blight 

Fireside Chat Moderator: Kenneth B. Morris Jr., the great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass and great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington

Notable Moments: Guests arrived excited for the annual History Dinner and the incredible attention to detail paid to every aspect of the evening. Once seated, all were treated to an impactful scene from the play “A Walk to Respect,” featuring actors portraying Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The dinner menu was inspired by the mid-1800s and included a sweet corn crab bisque and an Irish sweet creme vanilla cherry cheesecake. The presentation by Pulitzer Prize winner David W. Blight was a fascinating peek into details surrounding key moments during the Civil War and the life of Frederick Douglass. The evening ended with the announcement of the historic figures who will be featured next year: President Harry Truman and J. Robert Oppenheimer. 

Photos courtesy of Marion Rhoades Photography

Sharon Harper & Jan Lewis
Shawn & Brian Day O’Connor
Francis, Luke & Dionne Najafi
Councilman Kevin Robinson & Dr. Michele Halyard with Becky Pierson & Fred Pakis
Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee & Dr. Nelson Mar
Howard & Lisa Bell with Kenneth B. Morris Jr.
Dr. Oliver & Sharon Harper, Phil & Nita Francis, Kenneth B. Morris Jr., David W. Blight, Lois Savage, Jan Lewis & Steve Savage
Board co-chair Matthew Feeney
Governor Katie Hobbs
O’Connor Institute president & CEO Sarah Suggs
A scene from “A Walk to Respect” kicked off the program
The beautiful vignette dedicated to Justice O’Connor

About Frontdoors Media

Frontdoors Media celebrates the people and groups who give generously and work to build the future of our community. It’s the premier source of information – and inspiration – for those who strive to make the Valley of the Sun a better place to live.
More in: The Scene

From Frontdoors Magazine

Back to Top