200 years ago marks the day Frederick Douglass, the former slave who became an abolitionist author, dazzling orator, and statesman, was born. Born in Maryland sometime around this date (which is the one he chose to celebrate as his birthday), Douglass grew to stand as a living counter-example to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. He was an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln on issues like African-Americans in the military, and detailed his remarkable life in the 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Celebrate in D.C. this month, or WATCH a mini-bio now… (1818)

In November, President Trump signed Congressional legislation to create a commission for planning celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary. A long-time resident of Washington, DC, a tour and celebration is being held on February 18 at Douglass’s home in the neighborhood of Anacostia.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago, Illinois (1920)
  • President Franklin Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia opening U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relations (1945)
  • First Lady Jackie Kennedy opened the White House to 80 million US television viewers giving a live tour featuring her restorations [more below] (1962) 
  • Aretha Franklin recorded the award-winning version of Otis Redding’s, “Respect”, the iconic hit that was rated by Rolling Stone magazine as #5 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1967)
  • CNN reporter Jeremy Levin was freed from captivity in Lebanon (1985)
  • The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS) were placed into orbit (1989)
  • The spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker entered orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid (2000)
  • YouTube was launched by three former Paypal employees as a video sharing website; it soon became the second largest search engine in the world, and the main source viral videos on the Web (2005)

And, on this day in 1962, after First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy had spent a year restoring the White House with historical furnishings that were missing when she arrived, 80 million people tuned in on television to watch her give a tour.


The changes were wildly popular.  (Pictured above, the Red Room)