by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)
Baltimore is celebrating a very special Black History Month this year in honor of Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday. The city will host a series of events to share the abolitionist’s life and work. Though Baltimore is where Douglass spent his childhood as a slave until 1838, it is also where he learned to read and later returned to build his “Douglass Place” homes in Fell’s Point, a row of houses meant for African-American renters during the Civil War. While the Bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’ Birth is a year-long celebration, the month of February will see many events that celebrate the rich African-American heritage and culture of Baltimore:
- The Maryland abolitionist’s birthday has become Frederick Douglass Day and its 200th Anniversary Celebration will be in full swing on February 10 from 12 – 4 p.m. at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. With activities including readings of his speeches by living history re-enactors and a children’s art and story hour about his life, the event is perfect for people of all ages to engage and learn about Douglass’ impact on history.
- The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum will hold lectures and seminars on Frederick Douglass, as well as host two special events on February 15 – the unveiling of a new wax figure of Frederick Douglass and a book signing with his great-great-grandson, Kenneth B. Morris, who recently published a Frederick Douglass biography.
- Did you know that Frederick Douglass liked to quote Othello in his own writing? Chesapeake Shakespeare Theatre in downtown Baltimore hosts free monthly open houses, and this month, the discussions will center around Douglass and Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor who rose to fame performing as Othello in Douglass’ time. Bring your own lunch on February 13 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. and join the discussion on the commonality of these iconic figures.
- Black History Month in Baltimore isn’t complete without Visit Baltimore’s annual Legends & Legacies Jubilee on February 17 from 12 – 4 p.m. Spend the afternoon with free and interactive activities for the whole family to experience Baltimore’s African-American culture at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park.
- Featuring a variety of literary works, publishers, and authors, the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Literary Forum & Book Fair will take place onFebruary 24, from 12 – 4 p.m. at the Douglass-Myers Maritime Museum & Park. It’s free and open to the public, but don’t forget to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baltimore is filled with special opportunities to experience Black History Month and Frederick Douglass’ legacy, especially during this memorable anniversary.
For more information on the Legends & Legacies Jubilee or other Black History Month attractions, visit the website.