Saturday, November 6, 2010

Douglass Homestead

Tress and I visited the Frederick Douglass homestead in SE Washington DC on our last day. (I wonder, is his New Bedford home open for tours? Hope so.) It was atop a very large hill (walk-up only), with spectacular views of the city. This visit might have contributed to us missing our plane.

Douglass, it seems, turned inward after the successful push for suffrage. He no doubt expected? hoped? that it ensured a bright future for African-Americans. He proceeded to build window seats and nooks for his library.

I don't blame him one bit. A single person can only do so much, and Douglass did a whole hell of a lot. "'Knowledge unfits a child to be a slave'...and from that moment I understood the direct pathway from slavery to freedom."

The 'no guns' sign -- its very prominence, front and center on the porch -- is interesting, all things considered. Douglass told those black men who were considering enlisting in the 54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments, ca. 1863, that they not only needed their rights, but also needed to learn how to defend them, in use of arms.

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