February is Black History Month and February 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass. Did you know that Frederick Douglass was a long-time Washington, DC resident? His former home in Anacostia is now open throughout the year as a National Historic Site administered by the National Park Service. They recognize February 14th as his birthday, since the exact date is unknown. Thus on Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18th there will be an “open house” for the public to visit and tour his home for free and participate in various historical programs. The home site has a museum, film, and gift shop.
Last year there were also additional activities at the Anacostia Arts Center such as several lectures and historical demonstrations – all of which were excellent.
We’ll have more details once they become available and for now this is partially a “save the date” type announcement.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; c. February 1818 – February 20, 1895 was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writings. In his time, he was described by abolitionists as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.
Douglass wrote several autobiographies. He described his experiences as a slave in his 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which became a bestseller, and was influential in promoting the cause of abolition, as was his second book, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855). After the Civil War, Douglass remained an active campaigner against slavery and wrote his last autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. First published in 1881 and revised in 1892, three years before his death, it covered events during and after the Civil War. Douglass also actively supported women's suffrage, and held several public offices. Without his approval, Douglass became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States as the running mate and Vice Presidential nominee of Victoria Woodhull, on the Equal Rights Party ticket.
Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all peoples, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant. He was also a believer in dialogue and in making alliances across racial and ideological divides, and in the liberal values of the U.S. Constitution. When radical abolitionists, under the motto "No Union With Slaveholders", criticized Douglass' willingness to dialogue with slave owners, he famously replied: "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."
Roy Finkenbine argues:
The most influential African American of the nineteenth century, Douglass made a career of agitating the American conscience. He spoke and wrote on behalf of a variety of reform causes: women's rights, temperance, peace, land reform, free public education, and the abolition of capital punishment. But he devoted the bulk of his time, immense talent, and boundless energy to ending slavery and gaining equal rights for African Americans. These were the central concerns of his long reform career. Douglass understood that the struggle for emancipation and equality demanded forceful, persistent, and unyielding agitation. And he recognized that African Americans must play a conspicuous role in that struggle. Less than a month before his death, when a young black man solicited his advice to an African American just starting out in the world, Douglass replied without hesitation: "Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!"
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is located at 1411 W St., SE in Anacostia, a neighborhood east of the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, D.C.. Established in 1988 as a National Historic Site, the site preserves the home and estate of Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent African Americans of the 19th century. Douglass lived in this house, which he named Cedar Hill, from 1877 until his death in 1895. Perched high on a hilltop, the site also offers a sweeping view of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington D.C. skyline.
Important Event Details:
Registration: This event is free and open to the public and all are welcome including children. While advanced registration is not required it does help us determine how many people to expect as well as allow you to stay informed of any event updates.
Weather: As the event is mostly indoors it will take place rain, snow or shine. If it’s on the calendar then we’re proceeding as scheduled.
Parking: There is free parking at the Frederick Douglass House (check signs to see when the lot closes, usually at or shortly after the home closes) plus free street parking near the home.
Metro: The nearest station is Anacostia, just a short walk from the home.
Meeting Point: TBD – check back for additional details.
Additional Questions: Anything that can’t be answered by the above event description, Google, or common sense please let us know.
This event is organized by the National Park Service and is posted on Meetup by Washington, DC History & Culture.
Saturday - February 17
Sunday - February 18
We look forward to seeing you – thanks!
When: Saturday, Feb. 17
2:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Web: Visit Website