Frederick Douglass moved to the nation's capital from Rochester, New York in 1872. He first lived on Capitol Hill and then moved to Cedar Hill, Anacostia, his last home, in 1878. Douglass remained at Cedar Hill until his death in 1895. His home provided the backdrop to his active political and warm family life. The spacious estate and well-furnished rooms are a testament to Douglass' lifelong struggle to overcome entrenched prejudice.
The house is furnished much as it was during Douglass' lifetime. Each room is filled with items from his public life, personal belongings, treasured books. The house also holds many gifts from such well-known figures as antislavery writer Harriet Beecher Stow and President Abraham Lincoln. Paintings of people the family knew and admired are displayed throughout the house. These paintings also depicted places Douglass visited and significant events in African-American history.