Posts Tagged Fourth of July Speech

All-day activities planned for July 4, 2018 at Cedar Hill; open for first time in long time for grand view of fireworks on the National Mall

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Presents 
“What to the slave is the Fourth of July?”

 View from Cedar Hill

Join the National Park Service on July 4, 2018, for a day of reflection and commemoration as we honor history and celebrate 200 years of the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, the “Lion of Anacostia.”

Celebrate Independence Day starting at 9 a.m. with special activities at Douglass Cedar Hill estate in historic Anacostia, Washington D.C. Bring your blankets and a picnic to view the fireworks on the National Mall from Cedar Hill at 9:09 p.m.
All activities are FREE and open to the public.


Plan Your Visit

9 a.m. Join us for ranger-led house tours given at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.

11 a.m. See actor Darius Wallace deliver Douglass famous speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” on the front porch of the house.

12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Journey on a self guided tour of the house with rangers in different rooms to answer questions. Tours will be on the first floor only.

1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Become a bicentennial Junior Ranger and earn a limited edition badge! Enjoy activities for children and families on the lawn. Croquet, rangers unrolling a replica of the 1877 American flag (1877 was the year Douglass moved to Cedar Hill), storytelling, and living history actors portraying Douglass and his family.

7 p.m. See an encore performance from actor Darius Wallace as he delivers Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech on the front porch of the house.

8 p.m. – 9 p.m. Enjoy a Fourth of July themed full orchestra concert by D.C. Strings on the front porch of Douglass’s Cedar Hill home. Listen to music as you settle in to watch the fireworks.

9:09 p.m. Witness a grand view of the fireworks on the National Mall from Cedar Hill, just like Douglass would have. Enjoy music from D.C. Strings during the fireworks show.

Getting There

Parking: Street parking will be the only available parking for this event. The site is located in a residential neighborhood, parking will be difficult to find.

Public Transportation:

  • If taking a bus, get on the B2 to “Mt. Rainier” or “Bladensburg Rd., V St. NE,” or get on the V2 to “Minnesota Ave” or “Capitol Heights Station.” There is a bus stop directly in front of the site at the corner of W and 14th Streets.
  • The B2 and V2 buses service the corner of W and 14th Streets, directly in front of the site. The 90, 93, A42, A46, A48, P1, P2, and P6 all drop off within two blocks of the site.
  • Use the Green Line and get off at Anacostia Station. When disembarking the train, follow signs to exit the station on the “Howard Road” and “Buses” side. It is approximately 3/4 miles from the station to the site.
  • If walking, take a right on Howard Road (walk 1 block), take a left on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue (walk 3 blocks), and take a right on W Street (walk 4 blocks to the site’s visitor center).
  • Visit WMATA for fares and route details.

Prohibited Items and Activities

  • All coolers, backpacks, packages, and persons may be subject to inspection.
  • No grills, alcohol, glass containers, or personal fireworks are permitted on National Park Service property.
  • Launching, landing or operating unmanned or remote controlled aircraft on National Park Service property is strictly prohibited.
  • Personal tents that block other visitors’ views and tents that require stakes are prohibited.
  • Possession of firearms in national parks is prohibited, governed by federal as well as local law.

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Frederick Douglass statue in the lobby at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street NW is not playing

John Muller

Enter the lobby of One Judiciary Square. Go through the metal detector. Look up and to your left. Frederick Douglass sees you and he is not playing.

The 7-foot, 850-pound bronze likeness of the Lion of Anacostia atop a marble base is fired up, no mercy in his eyes.

According to one of the best writers over on 15th Street NW, Michael Ruane, the statue depicts Douglass, “bearded and broad-shouldered, standing by a lectern as he delivers his famous 1852 speech about slavery and the Fourth of July.”

In a 2008 story Ruane wrote, Douglass’ “right hand clutches a document. His left hand grips the lectern. His frock coat is open, and his left heel is raised as if he is moving forward, about to make a point.”

Along with a statue of D.C.’s famed 18th century planner Pierre L’Enfant, the representation of Douglass was supposed to rest in National Statuary Hall, in the Capitol building.

Since the city is not state, as stipulates the United States Constitution, only legislation would allow Douglass and L’Enfant to join the current crowd of 100 statues (2 from each state)  in Statuary Hall.

Despite advocates (another 15th Street favorite, John Kelly) and legal efforts to move Douglass to the US Capitol, it looks like the Lion is staying where he is.

As my friend William Alston-El said about the Lion walking the streets of Anacostia earlier this year, “Man, Fred was too radical for these folks. They’ll recognize him but only so much. Because they know he wasn’t playing.”

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