On the hill behind me is Cedar Hill the final home of Frederick Douglass. This Anacostia home was purchased by Douglass in 1877 for $6,700; in today's money that would be 1.3 million dollars. By the time Douglass lived here he had become a very wealthy man, deriving his income from his public speaking, his publishing ventures, his writing and his various public offices.
Pictured here is Douglass's first wife Anna Murray Douglass. They were married for 44 years. She bore him five children and they had 21 grandchildren. She was a free black woman living in Baltimore when she and Douglass met. She sold many of her personal items to finance his escape from slavery.
Many visitors (and this particular Ranger) find themselves coveting this beautiful crock for ice water. Imagine using it for iced tea or lemonade.
"If these walls could talk" The dining room table is set just a Douglass left it. Luminaries including Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman dined at this table.
Helen's room is just down the hall. Helen was what could be considered a more "modern" woman as evidenced by her sewing machine and especially by her typewriter. Helen was a clerk typist at the DC Register of Deeds office where she and Frederick Douglass met. They married two years following the death of Anna. They had many shared interests including travel, politics, women's rights, music theater and the arts.
Treat yourself to a visit to Cedar Hill in the historic district of Anacostia. It's a fantastic resource that helps to tell the story of a truly great American. Make a reservation for a tour at www.recreation.gov.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief look into the life of Frederick Douglass through the lens of the house he lived in for 18 years.
Still chasing history, from the heart of Anacostia,