The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is pleased to announce that plans are underway to place the statue of famed abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass’ statue in the United States Capitol’s Visitor Center’s Statuary Hall, thanks to the signing of a Bill (H.R. 4021) by President Barack Obama on September 20, 2012. The Douglass statue has been temporarily housed at DC’s Judiciary Square Building (441 4th Street, NW) since 2007 and was originally commissioned by DC Arts Commission in 2006 through the DC Creates! Public Arts Program. DC Creates! Public Art Program purchases, commissions, and installs artwork for public sites throughout the District of Columbia. The program was established by 1986 legislation that allocates up to one percent of the District's adjusted capital budget for the commission and acquisition of artwork.
“The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is elated to finally see the statue of Frederick Douglass assume its rightful place amongst the fifty states represented in Statuary Hall—what a great day for the District of Columbia,” said Executive Director Lionell Thomas. “We recognize the efforts of Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton to move the legislation forward.”
The Douglass statue was selected as the result of a popular vote by DC residents. The statue was created by sculptor Steven Weitzman who portrayed Douglass in bronze as an orator and writer of the North Star publication. The North Star, considered the most influential black antislavery newspaper, founded by Douglass in 1847 and published until 1851. Born a slave in Maryland, Douglass made Washington DC’s Anacostia neighborhood his home in 1877 until his death in 1895.
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities provides grant funds, programs and educational activities that encourage diverse artistic expressions and learning opportunities, so that all District of Columbia residents and visitors can experience the rich culture of our city.