Built as temporary housing for World War II workers, the Frederick Douglass Dwellings were located on land previously owned by Tobias Henson, a former slave, who, after purchasing his freedom and that of his family, purchased and developed a 24-acre tract called The Ridge. Henson added to his landholdings and by the 1870s his family was the principal landholder in the black community of Stantontown; they remained on the land until the 1940s, when the federal government condemned the community to build the Frederick Douglass Dwellings. Deemed uninhabitable in 1998 and left vacant, the Frederick Douglass Dwellings were demolished in 2000 to make way for a new mixed-income community.
The collection, which dates form circa 1940s to 1990s and measures 1.15 linear feet, documents the daily lives and activities of the residents of the Frederick Douglass Dwellings and other areas of Anacostia, as well as the demolition of the Frederick Douglass Dwellings. The collection is comprised of color and black-and-white photographs, studio portraits, documents from community organizations, magazines and clippings.
Frederick Douglass Dwellings colllection, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of members of the Southeast Voices