DC Reads 2013 Discussion Questions

Cover_Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC_By John Muller _ The History Press _ Oct. 2012Have you read the DC Reads title? Check out Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia.


  1. What was Douglass’s most significant contribution to Washington, D.C. during his more than two decades as a resident of the city?
  2. Why was Frederick Douglass known as the “Lion of Anacostia”?
  3. Why was Douglass reluctant to assist in launching a newspaper in Washington? What impact did the involvement of his sons – Lewis & Frederick Jr. – have on his decision to begin the New Era and continue to finance the paper?
  4. Why did Douglass have such a short tenure as a member of the Territorial Legislature? Why do you think he accepted the position?
  5. Why did Douglass move from Capitol Hill to Anacostia? What is the family lore behind his move? What was Anacostia like back then?
  6. What role did Frederick Douglass have as a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University? Was his service of consequence? In what ways was he an active member of the Board?
  7. Why was the appointment of Douglass as Marshal of the District controversial? What objections were raised? What did he do while Marshal? What was his daily routine? What were some of the notable events of his Marshalship?
  8. Why is his service as Marshal an ironic footnote of history? (As a fugitive slave and in the wake of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry Douglass had been pursued by U.S. Marshals!)
  9. How did Douglass react to the death of his first wife? How did he meet his first wife? What was their relationship?
  10. Who was Douglass’s second wife? How did Douglass meet his second wife? What was their relationship like? Why did their marriage attract attention?
  11. Who were some of Douglass’s neighbors in Anacostia that he had relationships with? What sort of neighbor was Douglass?
  12. What were some of the ways the Douglasses entertained in Anacostia? What were some of the activities Douglass enjoyed? Did he play a musical instrument?
  13. How did Douglass mentor the younger generation of activists? Who were these activists?
  14. What churches did Douglass attend in Anacostia and across the city?
  15. Who was Frederick Douglass as a grandfather ? Who was Joseph Douglass?
  16. Who were some of Douglass’s friends in Washington? What was the extent of their friendship?
  17. How did Douglass earn his money? How did he spend and invest his money?
  18. What is the legacy of Douglass in Washington today?
  19. Why did Douglass decline invitations and suggestions to pursue a seat in the United States Senate?
  20. What are some of the new books expected out about Douglass?

For more information on the 2013 DC Reads visit —> http://www.dclibrary.org/dcreads

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