Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

Located at 1411 W Street, SE in the Anacostia neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C., the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site contains the home and estate of Frederick Douglass.  Douglass, who lived from February 14, 1818 (self-given) and passed on February 20, 1895, is considered to be one of the most eminent African-Americans of the 19th century.  The impact of Douglass, who was an abolitionist, statesman, human rights activist and social reformer, was massive.  According to the biography of Douglass in Encyclopedia Britannica, “… his oratorical and literary brilliance thrust him into the forefront of the U.S. abolition movement, and he became the first Black citizen to hold high rank in the U.S. government.”

In 1872, Frederick Douglass moved from Rochester, New York to live in Washington, D.C.  In 1877, Douglass paid $6,700 to the Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Bank for a house and 9 and ¾ acres of land.  The following year, Douglass purchased an additional 5 and ¾ acres of land from Ella R. Talburtt.  In autumn 1878, he and his wife, Anna Murray Douglass, would move into their home located in a neighborhood that is presently called Anacostia.  Anna Murray Douglass was an African-American abolitionist and member of the Underground Railroad.  She and Frederick were married from 1838 until her passing in 1882; they had been married for 44 years.

Because the house sat high on a hill, surrounded by cedar trees, Frederick and Anna named their home, “Cedar Hill”.  The couple expanded the house from 14 rooms; Frederick would, ultimately, develop the structure to house 21 rooms.  Situated east of the Anacostia River, the view from the hilltop home spans the skyline of our nation’s capital, including of the Capitol Building.