While many will celebrate Valentine’s Day on Friday, perhaps by getting married, let’s not forget that it’s also the birthday of Frederick Douglass—the legendary Civil War-era statesman and social reformer.
To mark the occasion, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced a bill yesterday calling for the establishment of a Bicentennial Commission to find ways the federal government can honor his life during the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2018. The commission would explore different ways to do this, including the “issuance of a Frederick Douglass bicentennial postage stamp, the convening of a joint session of Congress for ceremonies and activities relating to Frederick Douglass, a rededication of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, and the acquisition and preservation of artifacts associated with Frederick Douglass,” Norton said in her statement for the Congressional Record.
“Douglass dedicated his life to achieving justice for all Americans,” Norton also said. “He lived in the District of Columbia for 23 of his 57 years as a free man and was deeply committed to obtaining equal congressional voting and self-government rights for District of Columbia residents.” Douglass’ Anacostia home, Cedar Hill, is a National Historic Site, and a statue of Douglass from D.C. was finally moved to the U.S. Capitol this summer.