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Frederick Douglass National Historic Site


Frederi­ck Douglass, born a slave and never formally educated, was one of the country's most eloquent spokesmen in the struggle against slavery. The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is located in Washington, D.C.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
© National Park Service
Cedar Hill was Frederick Douglass' Victorian mansion home,
which overlooked the U.S. Capitol. In 1962, the mansion became
the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.

He was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in 1818. His mother, a slave, was forced to leave him as an infant, and he never knew his father. At an early age he discovered that education was the key to freedom, and he learned to read and write by trading bread for lessons.

Douglass escaped to freedom when he was 20 and became an active abolitionist. He founded an abolitionist newspaper, helped convince Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Act, and was appointed ambassador to Haiti. A defender of equal rights for all, he also supported women's rights.

When he moved into Cedar Hill, a Victorian mansion overlooking the U.S. Capitol, he was the first black man in the District's Anacostia neighborhood. Part of the National Park System since 1962, Cedar Hill is little changed from when Douglass lived there, and it shows that while Douglass advocated changes in society, he was comfortable being a part of its upper strata.

Much of the furniture in the elegant home is original, and Douglass' belongings indicate his wealth and success: Abraham Lincoln's cane, given by Mrs. Lincoln after the assassination; a leather rocking chair from the people of Haiti; and his greatest treasure, a library of 1,200 books.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Information

Address: 1411 W Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20020
Telephone: 202/426-5961
Hours of Operation: Daily, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. April - October; 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. October - April; except Thanksgiving,
Christmas, and New Year's Day
Admission: Free

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic SiteClara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic SiteFort Raleigh National Historic SiteHampton National Historic SiteLincoln Home National Historic SitePuukohola Heiau National Historic SiteTheodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic SiteEdison National Historic SiteFort Scott National Historic SiteHarry S. Truman National Historic SiteLongfellow National Historic SiteSagamore Hill National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic SiteSaint Paul's Church National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic SiteFort Vancouver National Historic SiteHome of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic SiteManzanar National Historic Site

Saint-
Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic SiteFrederick Douglass National Historic SiteHopewell Furnace National Historic SiteMartin Van Buren National Historic SiteSalem Maritime National Historic SiteUlysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theater National Historic SiteFrederick Law Olmsted National Historic SiteHubbell Trading Post National Historic SiteMary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic SiteWeir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic SiteFort Bowie National Historic SiteFriendship Hill National Historic SiteJames A. Garfield National Historic SiteMc Loughlin House National Historic SiteSewall -Belmont House National Historic SiteWhitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic SiteGloria Dei Church National Historic SiteJimmy Carter National Historic SiteNinety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic SiteWilliam Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christiansted National Historic SiteFort Laramie National Historic SiteGolden Spike National Historic SiteJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic SitePalo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.