July 29, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Frederick Douglass Statue Figures Prominently in 2014 Black History Month

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Norton talks about a statue of Rosa Parks during a tour of the Capitol’s Statuary Hall that she gave to about 60 D.C. students. Norton has been giving the tours in honor of Black History Month, which is February.

Norton said Douglass means more to District residents than the other prominent black figures because he “represents progress for D.C.”

On Wednesday, the Capitol Visitor Center paid tribute to Douglass as part of a monthlong series of Exhibition Hall talks celebrating Black History Month. The CVC invited Ka’mal McClarin, museum curator at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, for a 15-minute presentation in front of their “A More Perfect Union” exhibit.

McClarin pointed out that Douglass was born a slave in 1818 in Talbot County, not far from the District on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He moved to Washington in 1871 and was later appointed U.S. marshal of the District, the chief law enforcement officer of D.C.

Douglass was “friends of many African-Americans serving in the halls of Congress,” McClarin said, and frequently visited the Hill to lobby for access to education. His final home was in Anacostia’s Cedar Hill, because Douglass saw Washington, according to McClarin, as “the seed of the whole notion of civic nationalism.”

Most importantly to Norton and her constituents, he was also a champion for equal citizenship for District residents.

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