Morton, Rogers C. B (Rogers Clark Ballard) 1914-1979
Douglass, Frederick 1817?-1895
Frederick Douglass Memorial Home
United States National Park Service
Anacostia Community Museum
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum
1 open reel 1/2 inch video recording
Anacostia (Washington, D.C.)
Civil War, 1861-1865
Title transcribed from physical asset.
Frederick Douglass Memorial Home was built between 1855 and 1859 for John Welsh Van Hook, an architect from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Uniontown (also known as Anacostia). In 1877, Frederick Douglass purchased the home and 9 3/4 acres of land, which he named Cedar Hill. Over several years, Douglass purchased additional land and converted the home into a 21 room mansion. In 1900, Douglass' second wife, Helen Pitts Douglass, urged U.S. Congress to charter the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association, which received the property in 1903 upon Helen's death. On September 5, 1962, the Frederick Douglass estate became a part of the National Park Service. Groundbreaking ceremonies for a visitor center were held in September 1980. The visitor center opened to the public in February 1982. Douglass' home and estate became a National Historic Site in 1988 and underwent several restorations between 1922 and 2007.
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was born into slavery on Maryland's Eastern Shore but fled north in 1838 to settle in Massachussetts. He soon became an abolitionist in the antislavery movement, and by the mid-1840s his commanding eloquence in offering firsthand testimony to the oppressions of slavery had transformed him into one of the movement's most persuasive spokesmen. Douglass' reforming zeal remained strong all his life. After the Civil War put an end to slavery, he continued to be a leading defender of the rights of African Americans during Reconstruction.
Official Opening of Frederick Douglass Home includes dedications, speeches, prayer and a ribbon cutting ceremony. Councilman Anderson reads a proclamation declaring February 14 as Frederick Douglass Day in Washington, D.C.; the proclamation was written by Mayor Walter Washington on February 7, 1972. Secretary of Interior Rogers C. B. Morton speaks of Douglass' fight for equal rights and signs a doctrine establishing Frederick Douglass Home as a National Shrine. A young girl speaks of Douglass' life and legacy, and a man reads excerpts from a speech given by Douglass in Rochester in 1852.
Ceremonial Event. Part of ACM Museum Events, PR, and Ceremonies Recordings Record Group. Poor sound quality; video skips. Dated 19720214.
Official Opening of Frederick Douglass Home, Record Group AV09-023, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution