In American history, February is a month full of big of birthdays. On Monday, the US celebrated President’s Day. The federal holiday commemorating George Washington’s birthday is observed every third Monday of February (sometimes locally held in conjunction with that of Abraham Lincoln). Mount Vernon created an interactive timeline chronicling the fascinating history of the holiday.
This year, however, marked the 200th anniversary of arguably one of the most influential figures in American history: Frederick Douglass. In 1818, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery on a plantation in the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Although Douglass never knew his real birthday, he often remarked that he chose to celebrate on 14 February–Valentine’s Day–because his mother referred to him as “her little Valentine.”
So, in honor of Douglass’s birthday and in the spirit of Black History Month, here are five fresh links for your Friday reading pleasure:
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site at Cedar Hill, Anacostia, Washington, DC held bicentennial celebrations last weekend.
- Google Arts & Culture hosted an online exhibition of photographs of Frederick Douglass and his home at Anacostia in commemoration of the momentous occasion.
- Maryland State Archives shared the document that records Douglass’s birthday in February 1818.
- Historian David Blight wrote a New York Times opinion piece on how the Right is co-opting Douglass in American politics.
- Digital colorist, Marina Amaral shared her amazing recent work on a photograph of young Frederick Douglass.