Governors are sent by Him to punish the evildoers and praise the virtuous (1 Peter 2:14).

Congressional Record2017/6/21Senate | House | Extensions

2017/6/21 > Extensions > E864 > 2 | 3 | Next Article


[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E864-E865]
From the Congressional Record Online through GPO



                       HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON

                      of the district of columbia

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a bill, along with Representative Andy Harris of Maryland, that would establish a bicentennial commission to study ways that the federal government might honor and celebrate the life of Frederick Douglass during the bicentennial anniversary of his birth, in 2018.

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818 on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He learned basic reading skills from his mistress and continued to teach himself and other slaves to read and write despite the risks he faced, including death. After two attempts, Douglass successfully escaped to New York and became an abolitionist and anti- slavery lecturer. He went on to serve in several administrations, including as a close advisor to President Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Marshal of the District of Columbia under President Rutherford B. Hayes, and District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds under President James Garfield. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Frederick Douglass to be the U.S. minister to Haiti. He was later appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to serve as secretary of the commission of Santo Domingo.

Douglass dedicated his life to achieving justice for all Americans. He lived in the District of Columbia for 23 of his 57 years as a free man and his home at Cedar Hill was established as a National Historic Site in Southeast Washington, D.C. The Frederick Douglass statue that stands in his honor in the United States Capitol is a gift from the nearly 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia.

My bill would establish a commission to examine ways the federal government can honor Douglass during the bicentennial anniversary of his birth, including the issuance of a Frederick Douglass bicentennial postage stamp, [[Page E865]] the convening of a joint meeting or joint session of Congress for ceremonies and activities relating to Frederick Douglass, a rededication of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, and the acquisition and preservation of artifacts associated with Frederick Douglass. The commission would report its findings and recommendations to Congress.

I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation. ____________________

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