This past weekend tens of thousands of Girl Scouts and their troop leaders invaded the city from as far away as Florida, Texas, and California to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the organization. Young scouts in their green vests, loaded with buttons, badges, patches, pins, and decorations jammed the Metro. Estimated attendance reached as high as 100,000.
Hotels across the city and in nearby Maryland and Virginia booked. In Anacostia there are no hotels; in Douglass’ time there was.
Following a tradition more than a century strong, many of the Girl Scouts managed to find their way from the celebration downtown over to the Anacostia neighborhood to visit the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site on W Street SE.
Over the years photographs have amassed in many private and public collections that chronicle the gatherings of local student clubs, church congregations, organized trade alliances, suffragists, civil rights associations, fraternal and journalist societies, to name a few, posing in front of the home and on the lawn. Through the photos of these various coalitions you can roughly piece together the growth and development of Civil Rights and Women’s Rights, as well as social movements, and political causes.
The Girl Scout troops that visited the Douglass home this weekend are not the first nor will they be the last to come through Cedar Hill. This tradition of visiting this old house in old Anacostia is most important to our youngest and adolescent citizens. Later in life they will come back to the home, with their children in tow, keeping the heritage of Frederick Douglass alive.