“The Frederick Douglass Home in Anacostia, D.C.” by Nannie Helen Burroughs [Baltimore Afro-American, July 20, 1935; p. 16]

B_Afro_1935.7.20_NannieHelenBurroughs_FD Home in a Patch of Weeds0001People are funny and don’t know it. They are always getting upset, excited, hilarious, pompous, chesty or satisfied over something that doesn’t amount to anything of vital importance.

They get all worked up over imaginary insults. Just now they are feigning to be awfully mad because Frederick Douglass ran behind in the race for a place in the Hall of Fame. They are only playing, because many of us are not bothered about having the name of Frederick Douglass perpetuated; if we were, we have a mighty “weedy way” of showing it.

The Douglass Weed Patch

The Frederick Douglass Memorial Home in the capital city of the nation, sits in the middle of a weed patch. It surroundings look more like the wilderness of Judea than like a shrine of perpetuating the sacrificial achievements and idealism of one of the greatest men produced on American soil.

The little brick garden house in which Frederick Douglass wrote his red hot appeals for justice for his people is tumbling down, while thousands of people brag about him before school children once a year, use his name to get applause on high occasions and make the very cobblestones over which the great champion trod, tremble under their feet as they strut in glittering regalia. What a show – what a perfect show!

Last of Cedar Hill

If people loved and desired to cherish the name of Frederick Douglass, they would make that fourteen acre plot known as “Cedar Hill,” look like Mount Vernon. Washington fought for liberty for the colonists. Douglass fought for freedom for the slaves. One deserves as much honor as the other. The shrine of the one should be as sacred as the shrine of the other to all Americans.

Of course, some people are demanding that the name of Douglass be put in the Hall of Fame. Why? Simply because it would not cost them anything but a lot of talk. The beautification of Cedar Hill would cost them money, labor and time. People are not always hero worshipers  They forget those who suffer and die for them and they vote for those who persecute and despitefully use them. People are funny.

The runners, jumpers, fighters and loafers have made the front pages in all the metropolitan dailies. They have outrun, out-jumped, outfought and outloafed white folks, but those glorious feats do not disturb Americans who think deeply. What would challenge them would be a man who can out-think the best thinkers and outdo he best doers. It is definitely up to the schools to produce some doers.

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