NE Quadrant, SE Quadrant, African American, Capitol Hill, Architecturally Significant, Civil War Era, Diplomat, Federal Government Employees, Journalists, Radicals, Also of Interest

Frederick Douglass
(February 1818? – February 20, 1895)

Cedar Hill, 1411 W St. SE, Anacostia neighborhood, DC. Now the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service.

Social reformer, statesman, powerful orator, and writer, Douglass was born a slave in Talbot County, MD, and became a leader in the abolitionist movement and the women's rights movement. From 1889 to 1891, he was Consul-General to the Republic of Haiti.

His memoirs include A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), and the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881, revised 1892).

Douglass moved to DC in 1872, and purchased Cedar Hill in 1877. He worked as an editor for the abolitionist newspaper New National Era, served as a US Marshall and the DC Recorder of Deeds. He is remembered locally by a bridge across the Anacostia River named in his honor. A statue of Douglass is in the main lobby of the DC Courthouse, awaiting approval for inclusion in National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol.

This windowless stone outbuilding is a recreation of Douglass's writing studio at Cedar Hill.  Douglass called his studio The Growlery.

Architect: John Van Hook
Year: c. 1855 – 1859
Cedar Hill was originally a smaller house (probably 14 rooms), but Douglass made a series of additions (adding to the back, and converting the attic to another story) to convert it to a 21-room mansion. The property was managed by the National Park Service beginning in 1962, and opened as a museum in 1982.

320 A St. NE, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC.
Now the Frederick Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans.


National Park Service
Frederick Douglass Museum
The Baltimore Literary Heritage Project

Author photo courtesy of Library of Congress.