- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
SIMMONS: Douglass deserves a part in the Lincoln story
Question of the Day
Douglass, who knew more than a thing or two about the particulars of slavery, having been born a slave in Maryland in 1818, also knew Lincoln. Lincoln always had experienced the full breadth of liberty and as a politician and titular head of the Republican Party imagined an America which, at the very least, would give blacks a measure of freedom from the shackles of cruel and unusual, inhumane U.S. laws.
Hollywood denied the two men their relationship.
The script that would have focused on Douglass-Lincoln was ditched and now is known simply as “Lincoln,” which focuses instead on the president and his party’s inside-Washington strategies alongside the Democrats’ with anti-slavery politics remaining the reason for the film.
I was long ago acquainted with Douglass, but not because of black history lessons in D.C. Public Schools.
Most of my learning stemmed from my parents’ insistence on their children learning history and because Douglass‘ estate, Cedar Hill, was where we in Anacostia and nearby neighborhoods used to ride Flexible Flyers, if family fortunes allowed, and cardboard boxes if not.
We called it the “ghost house,” because at dusk and after nightfall the street lamps seemed to cast an eerie-looking glow from within.
Snowstorms gave us a totally liberating feeling, as the wind created banks of snow for free-falls and gave us an unbelievable sense of freedom — freedom from our moms’ calls to not get soaking wet while at play, freedom to enjoy acre upon acre of snow-covered green-space and freedom to view the landscape of the grandest capitals.
At the time, the National Park Service had yet to gain control of Cedar Hill, but we knew that it had been owned and occupied by a black man, a liberating thought in and of itself.
We also knew that Douglass‘ eventual freedom was due to his and others’ hard-fought victories.
We knew because our parents gave us living history lessons to supplement schools’ traditional American lessons.
So we understood why our neighborhood streets had names like Stevens, Sumner, Birney and Stanton, and why, during Reconstruction, large-scale housing projects like Barry Farm came online.
We also knew why Cedar Hill was adjacent to Pitts Place, the maiden name of Douglass‘ second wife, Helen, a white woman he married in 1884, two years after his beloved Anna died. While Douglass and Pitts were free to marry, they did not push too close to America’s cultural cliff, and traveled extensively.
As I visited Cedar Hill on Friday and took in the view of this city, chill winds blew lessons of Douglass, who was born at a time when blacks were forbidden book learning but became one of America’s seminal writers, publishers and statesmen.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
- SIMMONS: Obama visits Southeast D.C. with minimum wage on his mind
- SIMMONS: Mayor Gray has only himself to outrun in campaign
- SIMMONS: Jack Kent Cooke's legacy continues to produce winners
- SIMMONS: Thanksgiving is about much more than gobble, gobble
- SIMMONS: Effects of raising D.C.'s minimum wage are murky
Latest Blog Entries
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'Economic Freedom Zones' for Detroit
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!