Frederick Douglass Statue Dedication

The Frederick Douglass Statue

The Frederick Douglass Statue, a gift from the residents of Washington, DC. Dedicated on June 19, 2013.

Speaker Boehner at the podium

Speaker Boehner led a bipartisan celebration to dedicate a statue to abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass.

Presentation of the Colors

Presentation of the Colors by the United States Armed Forces Color Guard.

Speaker of the House John Boehner

Speaker of the House John Boehner led the celebration of the statue dedication. He called Mr. Douglass “one of the greatest Americans to ever live.”

Vice President Biden also spoke.

Vice President Biden attended the ceremony and said that “instead of complaining about the country that made him a slave, he [Frederick Douglass] used its principals to become free.”

Ms. Nettie Washington Douglass

Ms. Nettie Washington Douglass represented the Frederick Douglass family at the celebration. She is the great-great granddaughter of Mr. Douglass and the great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington, another leader in the African-American community.

A Contest Winner

A winner of a Frederick Douglass Oratorical Contest, Campbell McDade Clay and her mother Maranne attended the ceremony. The 8th grader from Rochester, New York, memorized and then delivered a speech by Mr. Douglass as part of the competition.

He was born a slave in 1818. 77-years later Frederick Douglass died a statesman. Now a statue of Mr. Douglass stands in the U.S. Capitol.

Speaker of the House John Boehner led a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders in the statue dedication on June 19, 2013. He called Frederick Douglass an example for humanity who is unmatched (click here to listen to Speaker Boehner’s remarks).

Frederick Douglass had little formal education and taught himself to read and write. He was beaten for trying to help other slaves read. He unsuccessfully tried to escape slavery in 1826 but was finally able to do so two years later.

Mr. Douglass soon became a powerful voice for freedom and equality and became a friend and advisor to President Abraham Lincoln. Fittingly, his statue is in Emancipation Hall only a few feet away from a memorial to the many slave laborers who helped build the U.S. Capitol. The statue is a gift to the U.S. Capitol from the District of Columbia.