Posts Tagged Mayor Bowser
Will Old Anacostia & Washington, D.C. join Fell’s Point, Baltimore and Easton, Maryland in hanging banners to honor Frederick Douglass Bicentennial celebration?
In this week’s edition of The Washington Informer is an article I wrote, “Activists Call for Douglass Banners in Old Anacostia to Hail Bicentennial Celebration,” with quotes from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Honorable Ken B. Morris, Jr., Chuck Hicks and Duane Guatier of the Anacostia Arts Center.
The article has precipitated discussions as to how to make the presence of banners a reality. In order to advance the conversation I share a couple ideas:
Throughout the neighborhoods of Washington City a residual spirit of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass touches extant churches, schools, cemeteries, bridges, landmarks and buildings. Both local and national activism efforts required Dr. Douglass to remain familiar with the Federal City, as well. The United States Capitol, White House and Treasury are all places Dr. Douglass was no stranger.
Therefore distinctive Douglass banners could be placed in minimally three (3) separate locations throughout NW, NE and SE Washington:
- Lower Georgia Avenue & upper 7th Street NW — Frederick Douglass and Howard University
- Capitol Hill Historic District — Frederick Douglass and Reconstruction (editor of the New National Era & relationship with Congress)
- Anacostia Historic District — Frederick Douglass and Family; Frederick Douglass and local activism
For the installation of Douglass banners in Washington City to occur there must be a sense of purpose and urgency upon a number of elected officials, bureaucrats and community partners.
Washington City has the collective sophistication and enough collective coin to make this easily happen and happen quickly. Ideally, installation before July 4th would have been poetic but as we are in mid-June that won’t happen.
It appears there needs to be coordination on the Douglass Bicentennial between the offices of Mayor Muriel Bowser and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. With the municipal support of Bowser and the federal support of Norton the placement of banners can be achieved.
I can personally attest, and the record reflects, Congresswoman Norton has been a lioness on the Hill advocating and uplifting the legacy of Dr. Douglass for many years now. The relocation of the Douglass statue from Judiciary Square to the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall was largely due Congresswoman Norton’s leadership. Norton is truly a Douglassonian. However, there is only so much she can do as her office has larger issues to contend with under the Trump Administration.
William Alston-EL and I attended the opening of then-Mayoral candidate Bowser’s Anacostia field office many years ago. Other than light conversation I do not know Mayor Bowser and her level of commitment to Douglassonianism and the uplifting of fallen history.
As part of President Trump’s inaugural parade the DC government (city council and Mayor) displayed a Douglass banner across their stand. The convenient ceremonial pageantry is not what is needed now.
What is needed is leadership and coordination between local ANC Commissioners (Wards 1, 4, 6 and 8), Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), DC Office of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), DC Commission on Arts & Humanities (DCCAH), Office of Planning’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and a bevy of community organizations from Shaw to Capitol Hill to Old Anacostia.
It is time for Washington City to join Fell’s Point, Easton and Rochester in uplifting Frederick Douglass.
Below is the image the National Park Service has used to commemorate the Douglass Bicentennial. Potential banners could be two-sided, with this image or a unique image on one side and a geo-specific or thematic design on the reverse side.
Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Banners throughout Fell’s Point; Greedy Reads bookstore at corner of South Ann & Aliceanna Streets maintains centuries-old tradition of radical booksellers
Throughout stone streets and corners a juvenile Frederick Bailey hit running up against and with the Point Boys and Town Boys of 1820s and 1830s Baltimore dozens of commemorative banners affix light poles recognizing the bicentennial birth year of a local legend known throughout all four corners of the Earth.
Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh and partnering organizations Living Classrooms at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Museum Maritime Museum and Park, Society for the Preservation of Federal Hill and Fell’s Point, Crossroads School and Morgan State Professor Dale Green of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture must be applauded and acknowledged for uplifting and elevating Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in such a proper and public way.
In the full spirit of celebration of Dr. Douglass we must also acknowledge his emergence as a lifelong bibliophile began during his time in Fell’s Point.
Parlaying fifty cents earned from “blacking boots for some gentlemen” a defiant adolescent Frederick Bailey purchased The Colombian Orator from radical bookseller Nathaniel Knight’s shop at 28 Thames Street.
During our flâneur through Fell’s Point yesterday we stopped by Greedy Reeds, Fell’s Point only independent book store, at the corner of South Ann and Aliceanna Streets, a tilt Frederick Bailey passed going to and fro.
Julia, the proprietress of Greedy Reads, is a radical bookseller, keeping a local tradition alive that goes back centuries.
We thank all in Fell’s Point for elevating the history and the neighborhood.
We hope leaders within Washington City and the greater Old Anacostia neighborhood can follow the lead of our friends in Easton, Maryland in Talbot County and Fell’s Point by installing bicentennial banners of our own.
It is the least Washington City and Old Anacostia can do to show our respect and appreciation for all Dr. Douglass did for the neighborhood and the city and continues to do with the presence of his benevolent spirit.
Life and Legacy
Frederick Douglass 5k & Ribbon Cutting for Oxon Run Trail (Free Registration 8am, Sat., February 17, 2018)
Join Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC residents for the 1st Annual Frederick Douglass 5K to celebrate his 200 years of life and legacy! This will also be the official ribbon cutting for the new Oxon Run Trail!
Commemorate his 200th birthday by running this fun event at the newly renovated Oxon Run Park Trail!
Famed 19th-century author and orator Frederick Douglass was an eminent human rights leader in the anti-slavery movement and the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank.
Free Registration HERE!
[Ed Note: Whoever thought of this is a Douglassonian. Good work, Mayor Bowser and DPR! You are the first city I know to do a run to honor Douglass. It’s only right.]