Frederick Douglass' was a 19th century American hero, but his story still resonates with our times. He was a social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, husband, father, suffragist, statesman, and advisor to presidents. He was a man of his times, and at the same time, a man ahead of his times, espousing both the cause of abolition as well as women's rights and suffragism.
|Douglass' study and his 2000 books.|
|A guest bedroom.|
|Another guest bedroom. (With 20+ grandchildren, he needed a lot of guest rooms!)|
Douglass' supporters worried that the publicity from his book would draw the attention of his ex-owner, Hugh Auld, who might try to get his "property" back, and urged Douglass to travel to England and Ireland. Douglass spent two years in Ireland and Britain, where he gave many lectures in churches and chapels. His draw was such that some facilities were "crowded to suffocation." Sales from his book and donations from his supporters raised money to purchase his freedom from Auld. Astoundingly, many years later, he would visit Auld on his deathbed, speaking gently to the dying man, and bringing closure to himself.
|Anna's bedroom (Anna was his first wife and the one who funded Douglass' escape from slavery.)|
During the house tour, the docents reveal various aspects of Douglass' life and character. They point out his favorite chairs, how he would go out to a stone building in the back called the "Growlry" to think and write, discuss life in the late 19th century, and of course his legacy. They finally note that Douglass' second wife fought to preserve his legacy as well as Cedar Hill as a house museum dedicated to Frederick Douglass' life and incredible accomplishments.
Know before you go: Go online to the website to reserve tickets (for which there is a $1.50 fee); tours fill up quickly since POTUS' recent comments, so don't wait until the morning of the day you want to go to reserve your spots, because they won't be there!
Getting there: 1411 W Street, SE, Washington, DC; there is off-street parking available in front of the visitor's center.
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