John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks Upon Signing Bill Placing the Frederick Douglass Home in the National Capital Park System

September 05, 1962

It gives me great satisfaction today to approve S. 2399, To Provide For the Establishment of the Frederick Douglass Home As Part of the Park System in the National Capital.

Due to the foresight of a group of trustees in 1916, the Frederick Douglass Home was preserved and, under the terms of the bill, will be donated to the United States to be administered as part of the Park System of the National Capital.

Frederick Douglass was an outstanding leader of the movement of the abolition of slavery and an articulate spokesman for racial equality. His life spanned all but 22 years of the 19th century. He played a significant and important part in the advances of human rights achieved during that period.

It is fitting that his home in Anacostia should pass into public ownership and protection as a memorial to his contributions to human welfare, and the advancement of human dignity, and as an inspiration to all. I am very glad to have here today as our guests some of the ladies who have been particularly interested in caring for the Frederick Douglass Home and who a few weeks ago presented me with a picture of Abraham Lincoln which came from Frederick Douglass' home and which now hangs in the Lincoln Room, and which indicates the very close relationship--or symbolizes the close relationship which existed between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. So we are glad to have them here. They have done a wonderful job in caring for this home.

I am glad to have Senator Hart, who is the sponsor of this bill in the Senate, Congressman Diggs, the leadership, Congressman Rutherford, and others who have been particularly interested in the passage of this bill, and the former Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Chapman, who is also concerned about it, as well as other distinguished Members of the House and Senate who recognize the significance of this important piece of legislation.

Note: The President spoke in his office at the White House.

As enacted, S. 2399 is Public Law 87-633 (76 Slat. 435).

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Signing Bill Placing the Frederick Douglass Home in the National Capital Park System Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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