America, Countries, Culture

Black Washington

I prayed for 20 years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs – Frederick Douglass

Its most famous residence is the White House but the mansion of a black slave stands above it and the Capitol in Washington.

And the last occupant of Cedar Hill stands way above the current tenant in Pennsylvania Avenue.

The house on the hill

Today President Donald Trump is throwing a non-masked ball for his people complete with fireworks above the Washington Monument spelling out Trump 2020.

While on the National Mall a Second March on Washington has gathered 57 years after the first.

The scene is replete with history and symbolism.

Douglass come back to life

And above it all Frederick Douglass’s house stands as a reminder and a historical touchpoint for Black Washington.

Douglass, born a slave in Maryland in 1818 taught himself while in captivity before escaping his Master.

And then going onto champion the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad.

In the frame: Frederick Douglass

And also becoming an international spokesman for black people, women’s voting rights.

And among other international causes celebres Irish freedom.

Did I also mention that he was the first black person to run for one of the two great offices of the land?

As the running mate of Victoria Woodhull on the Equal Rights Party ticket.

All of which history is around you as you walk solemnly.

Unfinished business: At the infinity statue of Martin Luther King in Washington DC

Through his house which we are told would cost the equivalent of millions of dollars today.

It is 125 years since Douglass took his dying breath there but its status, and his, continue to grow.

Douglass’s success in Washington, the US capital, serves as an example to others of what can be achieved in the face of repression.

Just as Black Broadway (U Street) does and just as those channeling Dr Martin Luther King are doing.

Including his grand-daughter, Yolanda Renee Kong who spoke so passionately to the crowds yesterday.

This is who we need in the White House

The parties will go on down in that White House and presidents come and go.

But up there in the hills of Annacostia you can’t help thinking.

That the spirit of old Frederick is looking down on them, watching, waiting and dying to say something.

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