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A View of Old Washington Down Pennsylvania Avenue

Jae Alan

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Where to celebrate Frederick Douglass’s 200th birthday around D.C.

Jae Alan

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Frederick Douglass was born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Although the abolitionist and author lived in New York and Massachusetts after escaping slavery, he spent the last years of his life in Washington, serving as a U.S. Marshal and the city’s recorder of deeds, and living at a 15-acre estate in Anacostia named Cedar Hill.

It is at Cedar Hill, now the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, where the National Park Service will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Douglass’s birth on Feb. 17 and 18. (Douglass’s actual birth date is unknown, and he chose to celebrate it on Feb. 14 later in life.) National Park Service spokeswoman Pya Langley says the two-day celebration will be the biggest celebration of Douglass’s life at any Park Service site this year. “Some of our other sites highlight his life,” she says. “But this is the only site 100 percent-dedicated to Frederick Douglass in the [NPS] system.”

This weekend’s festivities are not the only way to honor one of America’s greatest statesmen: There are tours and events around the area throughout February.

Read more at The Washington Post

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Anacostia Events

Frederick Douglass Week

Jae Alan

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Wok and Roll in Chinatown once home to Lincoln Conspirator

Jae Alan

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I’ve been to D.C.’s Chinatown a number of times. I even remember passing the Wok and Roll restaurant at 604 H Street NW. The restaurant name certainly stands out in the ever-shrinking neighborhood. I did not know, however, that the building housing the Wok and Roll Restaurant is actually a fascinating piece of D.C. history. As a relative newcomer to the area, I only found out recently that it was the former boarding house of Mary Surratt, which played a fairly prominent part in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

The original address was 541 H Street NW. The National Register of Historic Places’ (NRHP) entry for the Surratt House states it was built in 1843 as a “three and a half story, pre-Civil War brick dwelling designed in a vernacular Greek Revival style of architecture.”

Mary’s husband, John Surratt, bought the building in 1853. Following John’s unexpected death in 1862, Mary rented out their family tavern in Maryland and moved to the home on H Street with her children.  She converted the large row house into a boardinghouse as a means of income, although some historians speculate she had more nefarious purposes in mind.

Read full story and view more pics featured at @ Ghosts of DC

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