Originally published 07/19/2013
Steven I. Weiss is an award-winning journalist, and is anchor, managing editor, and executive producer of news and public-affairs programming at The Jewish Channel.On June 19, an array of top government officials gathered for the unveiling of a statue of Frederick Douglass, the 19th-century African-American man born a slave who rose to be a vice-presidential candidate. That politicians and the federal government continue to memorialize black leaders and abolitionists of that era surprises no one, but few are aware of the other side of that coin: how much Washington pays to memorialize the Confederate dead.
Originally published 07/03/2013
Sean Coons is a writer and teacher in Los Angeles. Last week, Frederick Douglass — who escaped slavery at 20 years old and whose words would help bring an end to the institution — was honored with a statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall in Washington, D.C. In the 1960s and ’70s, far left activists like Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panther Party and Angela Davis of Communist Party USA incorporated Douglass’ call to agitation in their various causes’ platforms. Yet in a fascinating turnaround, the brilliant abolitionist, writer and orator is developing a new – and perhaps, unexpected – political identity: Tea Party hero.The recent rise in interest in Douglass by conservatives stems from their belief that his life epitomizes the self-reliance they champion, and his writings help provide justification for small government. It may be surprising to some that the fiery, black radical abolitionist of the 19th century, who once called Fourth of July celebrations “a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages,” could be inspiring to a Tea Party patriot. Or that social conservatives could find common cause with the man who bitterly attacked America’s Christianity as “a lie.” But that is exactly what is happening.
Originally published 06/21/2013
WASHINGTON — Frederick Douglass, the slave turned abolitionist, believed in freedom and equality for “all of us, regardless of our race, gender, religion or sexual orientation,” his great-great-granddaughter said Wednesday at the unveiling of a statue of Douglass in the Capitol.The descendant, Nettie Washington Douglass, spoke beneath the bronze statue of Douglass in Emancipation Hall on the day known as Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, before a crowd of 600 visitors that included Congressional leaders, relatives, current and former city officials, rights activists and historians.Ms. Douglass’s nod to her ancestor’s support of equality came as the Supreme Court, in chambers just across the street, was preparing to decide cases involving same-sex marriage, affirmative action and voting rights....
Originally published 02/05/2013
WASHINGTON — A statue of Frederick Douglass will soon be moved to the United States Capitol alongside statues of luminaries from the 50 states, and District of Columbia leaders are planning to celebrate the move.Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the district in Congress, will host an event Monday evening to call attention to the statue’s upcoming relocation....
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