Birthday Celebration

A student recites a speech while people in historical clothing listen
Student orators deliver excerpts from Frederick Douglass speeches at the annual birthday event.

NPS / N. Johnson

 
Celebrate the 199th anniversary of Frederick Douglass's birth with the National Park Service and its community partners on Friday, February 17, and Saturday, February 18, 2017!

This year's programs and activities explore the significance of the visual, performing, and culinary arts in Frederick Douglass's life. The entire event is free and open to the public.
 
Friday, February 17, 2017

Kick-Off Party with Nucleus
7:00 pm
Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Get down in celebration of Frederick Douglass's birth with a live band! Nucleus will perform. Douglass loved music - he sang, danced, and played violin with his guests at Cedar Hill.
 
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Opening Ceremony
10:15 am - noon
Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Keynote address by Dr. Leigh Fought, Le Moyne College, author of Women in the World of Frederick Douglass; music by the Washington Revels' Jubilee Voices; and speech recitals by students from the annual Oratorical Contest.

Historic Photography Demonstrations
Noon - 4:00 pm
Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Frederick Douglass was the most photographed American of the 1800s. Learn about how photos were taken back then and maybe even sit for a portrait! Demonstrations by Rob Gibson, Gibson Photographic Gallery.

The Life and Times of a Frederick Douglass Portrait
12:30 - 1:30 pm
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, 1411 W Street SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Explore the long and complex history of a rare and stunning painting of Frederick Douglass that hangs at Cedar Hill. Presentation by Lisa Struckmeyer, Prince William Historic Preservation Office.

Douglass and Shakespeare
Two Shows: 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm
Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Actor Darius Wallace portrays Frederick Douglass in this original one-act performance that reveals how Douglass was inspired by the works of William Shakespeare.

Douglass's Love for Art
1:00 - 1:45 pm
Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Frederick Douglass used visual art as a political tool. Learn about his favorite artwork and the relationship between nineteenth-century art and reform movements. Lecture by Sarah Cash, Associate Curator, National Gallery of Art, and Dr. Ka'mal McClarin, Museum Curator, National Park Service.

Art Comes to Life: Tours of Frederick Douglass's Home through the Eyes of His Portraits
1:00 - 3:00 pm
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, 1411 W Street SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Take a guided tour of Cedar Hill and see actors bring portraits of Frederick Douglass's family and friends to life.

Children's Art Activities
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, 1411 W Street SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Fun activities by EYL: Enjoy Your Life 365 Project.

"I am the Painter": Frederick Douglass and a Life of Art-Making
2:00 - 2:45 pm
Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC, 20020

For Frederick Douglass, art-making was a radical statement of equality. Dr. Celeste-Marie Bernier, The University of Edinburgh, co-author of Picturing Frederick Douglass, gives a special presentation on the ways in which Douglass maintained control of his image through photographs, portraits, drawings, and sculpture.

Grow-Your-Own-Food Workshop
2:00 - 2:45 pm
Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Frederick Douglass grew all kinds of fruits and vegetables on the grounds of his 15-acre Cedar Hill estate. Steve Coleman from Washington Parks & People will teach you the skills to grow and maintain your own urban garden.

Dance Like Douglass: African-American Dance and Culture
3:00 - 3:45 pm
Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Frederick Douglass was known to cut a mean "pigeon wing." Join Dr. Tamara L. Brown and dancers from Bowie State University to learn African-American dance traditions from the 1800s to today.

The Douglass Kitchen: African-American Culinary Traditions
3:00 - 3:45 pm
Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Learn about Frederick Douglass's culinary life during his early years and under the roof of Cedar Hill. Presentation by Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson, University of Maryland-College Park.
 

Last updated: February 16, 2017

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