Senate Passes Resolution for Frederick Douglass Statue Unveiling in Emancipation Hall on Wednesday, June 19, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) thanked her colleagues in the Senate for passing a resolution yesterday authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall on Wednesday, June 19, 2013, to unveil the District of Columbia’s Frederick Douglass statue, marking the first time that the District, like the states, will have its own statue in the Capitol. The resolution is expected on the House floor soon but does not need to be signed into law in order to take effect. The Congresswoman particularly expressed her gratitude to Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, for sponsoring the bill and to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who jumpstarted the effort to move the statue into the Capitol as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has jurisdiction over D.C., when the subcommittee’s s fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill, approved by the full committee but not considered on the Senate floor, included a provision authorizing the move of the statue into Capitol. Schumer then sponsored a stand-alone bill authorizing the move and the House companion to Schumer’s bill, sponsored by former Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), then-chairman of the Committee on House Administration, and co-sponsored by Norton, was signed into law by President Obama on September 20, 2012.
“Our country has always recognized our residents as American citizens when the country goes to war and in the obligation to pay federal income taxes,” Norton said. “Because D.C. residents have met every obligation of citizenship, they have tried for years to be represented in the Capitol with a statue, donated by them, like each of the 50 states. Today, with vital assistance from Senators Schumer and Durbin, the District is close to realizing this long sought symbol of their American citizenship. Frederick Douglass is one of the great international icons of human rights, but D.C. residents chose his statue to represent our city in the Capitol because of the boundless energy he dedicated to the right of D.C. residents to democratic self-government and congressional representation. Our residents, who have no elected senators of their own, are deeply indebted to Senators Schumer and Durbin for their generous efforts.”
The Douglass statue will be only the fourth statue or bust in the Capitol that honors an African American.
A short walk from Frederick Douglass’s first home in Washington, D.C., this past Sunday I had the pleasure of participating in the 2013 Literary Hill Bookfest alongside a squad of fellow History Press authors and local authors and historians.
Special thanks is in order for Karen Lyon who generously reviewed Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia last fall for the Hill Rag and organized the various authors for the festival.
Hope to see you next year for Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent.
[Not pictured is my new "CAPITOL HILL BOOKS" ball cap.]
Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia was selected as one of three finalists for the DC Public Library’s 2013 DC Reads program which will be coordinated later this fall. The book finds itself up against the seminal Lost in the City by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones and All The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by 2012 MacArthur Fellowship recipient Dinaw Mengestu.
In all honesty, I don’t expect Douglass to win but with your vote it “might-could” happen. Voting ends tomorrow, May 3rd… Vote Douglass!
In other news, the Literary Hill Bookfest is coming up this Sunday, May 5th at Eastern Market’s North Hall. It will include local journalists, poets, and authors including James Swanson, author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. I hope to catch you there, especially if you are a denizen of the Hill. On Saturday, May 18th, the all-day Gaithersburg Book Festival kicks off. I’ll be on a panel at 10:30 am discussing Douglass. Both events are free and promise to be enjoyable.
Lastly, I’ll be leading walking tours of Frederick Douglass’s Old Anacostia this Saturday, May 4th and Saturday, May 25th.
Hope to see you soon!
“Frederick Douglass Snowden” headstone at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church cemetery in Brookeville, Maryland
A couple months back I connected with Rebecca Shier of WAMU 88.5′s Metro Connection to ride through the old country roads and kinship communities of northern Montgomery County, Maryland.
In the cemetery at the corner of Brookeville and Zion roads is a headstone for “Frederick Douglass Snowden,” born just two years and two days after his namesake died.
In the previous American generations, I’ve always wondered how many children were christened “Frederick Douglass ________”? One of the most well-known of these men was Frederick Douglass Patterson, born in 1901. Patterson founded the United Negro College Fund and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan.
Support local bookstores! Special thanks to Jim, owner of Capitol Hill Books, who is one of the last ones left.
Capitol Hill Books
657 C Street SE
Washington, DC 20003