Special Event


Frederick Douglass and Women's Suffrage: Celebrating the 202nd Birthday of Frederick Douglass and the Centennial of the 19th Amendment

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site



Location: LAT/LONG: 38.863270, -76.985440

The Opening Ceremony will take place at Anacostia High School Auditorium (1601 16th Street, S.E.) at 10:15 a.m.

Dates & Times


Saturday, February 15, 2020


10:00 AM


7 hours

Type of Event

Children’s Program
Cultural/Craft Demonstration
Guided Tour
Living History
Volunteer Event


Join the National Park Service as we celebrate the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass on Saturday, February 15th. This year’s celebration will focus on Douglass’ role in the Women’s Rights and Suffrage Movements as part of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.  We are also focusing on the the contributions of African American Women in the Suffrage Movement because this story is often under-represented in history.  

The program will open with our traditional opening ceremony at 10:15 a.m. at Anacostia High School Auditorium and will continue all afternoon with programs at the Frederick Douglass NHS, Anacostia Arts Center, and Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument.  Programs include special tours, actors portraying Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, hands on art programs, exhibitors, performances and guest speakers. A shuttle will run between the program locations in Historic Anacostia beginning at Noon.

Vote for the African American suffragist you identify with or admire the most!!  We are conducting a “vote” on Facebook and in person on the day of the birthday event.  All sites hosting programs will be official “polling” places for this fun vote and you can learn more about the women being featured at the Frederick Douglass visitor center and at Belmont-Paul.  The winner will be announced the week of February 16th.

 We are also welcoming Girl Scouts from the National Capital Region who will be joining us for this year’s birthday programs.  All of the programs in historic Anacostia will have information for girl scouts to work towards the National Park Service’s, Girl Scout Ranger Badge which requires 10 hours doing a combination of attending programs and volunteer service to earn the badge.  Rangers can sign off on hours for any programs attended at this event.  


For a complete listing of all events, locations, and times, see below:

Anacostia High School Auditorium

1601 16th Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20020


Name:              "Frederick Douglass Birthday Celebration Opening Ceremony"

Time:               10:15 to 11:45 a.m.

Description:     Includes music by the Jubilee Voices, performances by the winners of the annual Douglass Oratorical Contest and a keynote address by Dr. Martha Jones, author of “All Bound Up Together”.  


Name:             “Frederick Douglass- Women’s Rights Advocate”

Time:               1:00 p.m.

Description:     Douglass Actor, Darius Wallace, performs a Douglass speech on women's rights and follows up talking about Douglass’ role in women’s suffrage.


Name:             Equality for All

Time:               1: 45 p.m. 

Description:     Join Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (actors) in a program that highlights their work in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and explores their complicated relationship.


Name:             Elizabeth Cady Stanton- Equality for All

Time:               2:15 p.m.

Description:     Elizabeth Cady Stanton Actor, MaryAnn Jung brings the history of Stanton’s role as one of the country’s early Women’s Rights activists and her work in fighting for suffrage.  


Anacostia Arts Center

1231 Good Hope Road S.E., Washington, D.C. 20020


Name: "The Nineteenth Amendment: Black Women's Long Arc of Political Activism and Crusades for Justice"

Time:               1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Location:         Theatre

Speaker:          Dr. Sharon Harley

Description:     Dr. Sharon Harley’s talk on black women's long history of political activism and social justice campaigns before, during and after the Women's Suffrage Movement and the ratification of the Nineteenth amendment.  It reveals untold (often deliberately hidden) stories of black women's activism in the U.S.-- an activism that linked suffrage not just with voting and elections but more critically with lynching, sexual abuse, and gender discrimination.  

This talk will reveal the extent to which Black women's activism and social justice crusades are not a new phenomenon. From Oscar De Priest who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1928 (the first black elected U.S. Congressman since the overthrow of Reconstruction) to the 2016 election of Doug Jones, a white Alabama Democrat, to the U.S. Senate publicly acknowledged how black women's political activism helped to ensure their victory.  The presentation explores the long arc of black women's suffrage activism and social justice campaigns -- crusades for the Right to Vote and Justice that overlapped and often extended beyond those of their male and white female counterparts.


Program:         "In the Words of Douglass"

Time:               1:00 p.m.

Location:         Lobby

Description:     Student winners from the Frederick Douglass Oratorical Contest will perform their award-winning Douglass speeches.  Students range from 1st to 6th grade.


Program:         “It is but Simple Justice”: Frederick Douglass and Women’s Suffrage

Time:               2:00 p.m.

Location:         Theatre

Speaker:          Ranger, Kevin Bryant 

Description:     In exploring Douglass’s involvement with the Women’s Rights Movement, a twisted tale of politics, betrayal, racism, sexism, and re-unification comes to the surface.  To say Frederick Douglass was an advocate for women’s rights and close friend of key suffragist leaders is true. This, however, obscures a much more complicated story.  This talk will dive deeper and explore the pain and fractures that spawned between Douglass and multiple key leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, as well as how they fought for their understanding of justice through that storm.  It was not always a happy narrative of diverse individuals working side-by-side to bring justice for one another.  History rarely is.


Program:         "Storytelling by Ibe Crawley"

Time:               2:15 p.m.

Location:         Lobby

Description:    Join visual artist and history teacher Ibe Crawley for an exciting story centered around the theme for this year's birthday celebration.


Program:         “Nothing Trivial About Voting”

Time:               3:00 p.m.

Location:         Theatre

Description:     Join the DC League of Women Voters for a program that “tests” your knowledge of voting and voting rights in the U.S.  


Program:         "Spoken Word Poetry"

Time:               3:00 p.m.

Location:         Lobby

Description:    Students from Two River Public Charter School will perform spoken word poetry they composed on voting rights and Frederick Douglass.


Program:         "Storytelling by Ibe Crawley"

Time:               3:45 p.m.

Location:         Lobby 

Description:    Join visual artist and history teacher Ibe Crawley for an exciting story centered around the theme for this year's birthday celebration.


Program:         "Journey to Womanhood"

Time:               4:00 p.m.

Location:         Theatre

Speaker:          Krysta Jones

Description:        Several periods in history shaped modern attitudes among women including slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction, the Suffrage Movement, Civil Rights Movement, Affirmative action, and the Feminist Movement. Collaborating across racial lines and moving past other differences is critical to our success as a global society. Krysta Jones will discuss how important it is for women to come together today and reflect on how we got to this point in our history from indentured servitude/slavery to today, and where we will go in the future as well as potential action steps for women (collectively and individually) to achieve success across the board.


Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

1411 W Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20020


Program:         "Book Signing by Dr. Martha Jones, author of All Bound Up Together"

Time:               1:00 p.m.

Location:         Visitor Center Lobby

Description:     Dr. Jones, the keynote speaker for this year’s Douglass Birthday will sign her book, “All Bound Up Together.”  This book explores the roles black women played in their communities’ social movements and the consequences of elevating women into positions of visibility and leadership.  Dr. Jones’ book reveals how, through the 19th century, the “woman question” was at the core of movements against slavery and for civil rights, including the right to vote.  Book will be available for sale in the park book store.


Program:         "Speaking Out Through Art"

Time:               1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location:         Visitor Center Auditorium

Description:     Women’s suffragists were one of the first groups to protest in front of the White House.  They used banners and signs to amplify their message so if their voices were drowned out by other noise in the city or you were too far away to hear them, you could still read their signs and know what they were standing up for.   Join local artist, Tamara DeSilva for an art class to create your own sign promoting an issue or cause you think is important.  Art materials will be provided.   The class will be on-going so you can drop it anytime between 1:00 and 4:00 to start your art project.


Program:         "Special House Tours" 

Time:               1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Location:         Check in at Visitor Center

Description:     House tours during the Douglass Birthday event will highlight Douglass’ roles in the Women’s Rights and Suffrage movements.  


Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument

144 Constitution Avenue N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002


Name:             "Special Tours"

Time:               11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m. 

Description:     Join a ranger for a 45-minute museum tour at Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument. Tours will discuss the vital role played by Frederick Douglass and other African American men and women in the fight for the right to vote.


Name:             "African American Suffragists:  Fighting on Dual Fronts of Gender and Race"

Time:               1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Speaker:          Ranger, Efa Ahmed-Williams

Description:     Efa Ahmed-Williams presents a talk on African American Women’s roles and challenges in the Women’s Suffrage Movement.


Name:             “Frederick Douglass- Women’s Advocate”

Date:               Sunday, February 16th

Time:               1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Description:     Douglass Actor, Darius Wallace, performs a Douglass speech on women’s rights and follows up talking about Douglass’ role in women’s suffrage.


Name:             "Suffrage Cartooning"

Date:               Sunday, February 16th

Time:               3:00 p.m. 

Description:     Join a ranger to learn more about the history of pro-suffrage and anti-suffrage cartooning at Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument. How did each side use imagery to illustrate their point? Who got left out? At the end of the program, create your own political cartoon. Great for kids! 

Reservation or Registration: No

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