The Year of Frederick Douglass

Events Celebrating the Bicentennial of Douglass’s Birth



The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture features fascinating permanent and traveling exhibitions.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Photo By: Visit Baltimore

The Year of Frederick Douglass

2018 is the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass's birth. Events, programs and tours are planned in the communities where he lived and worked, the places where he delivered his renowned speeches and the site from which he fled.  This is a list of the most prominent bicentennial events and tours. View a complete list of all 2018 events. Come celebrate Frederick Douglass with us!


Eastern Shore

Joy Night at Union Baptist Church
February 10 4 – 6 p.m. Union Baptist Church, Easton
The UMES Gospel Choir, Union Baptist Choir, The Covenant Choir, and the Hill Choir will perform.

Frederick Douglass at the Academy Art Museum
February 12 6 – 8 p.m. Academy Art Museum, Easton
In this living history presentation, Bill Grimmette, storyteller, actor, motivational speaker, living history interpreter and Maryland Humanities Council’s 2017 Chautauqua Scholar-Actor will take the audience on a journey through the life of Talbot County’s native son.

Family Art Day
February 17 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Academy Art Museum, Easton
Come celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Eastern Shore’s civil rights icon by creating a fine art print that features one of his famous quotes, such as “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” or “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

The Parallel Lives of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
March 28 – April 25 1:30 – 3 p.m. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln are the two preeminent self-made men in American history. John F. Ford and John H. Miller will facilitate the reading and discussion of selected writings and speeches of two of our nation’s greatest spokesmen. These two men did not always agree, and their relationship to each other developed and changed over the years as part of the country’s debate over slavery, abolition and emancipation.  This is the first of five classes. 

Living History Presentation of Frederick Douglass
April 17 2 p.m. Ocean City Public Library
Bill Grimmette will present his living history interpretation of Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass, a Slave in St. Michaels Tour
2nd and 4th Saturdays May through October St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square, St Michaels
Follow in the footsteps of Frederick Douglass during his teenage years in St. Michaels. He arrived as Frederick Bailey, a rebellious 15-year old, in 1833 and left in 1836 determined to acquire his freedom. This tour offers a historical perspective of Mr. Douglass’s life in enslavement and his return to reconcile with his former master.

Chautauqua 2018: Seeking Justice – Frederick Douglass
July 7 6 p.m. Maryland Humanities Council at the Elkton Library, Elkton
July 9 7 p.m. Maryland Humanities Council at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels
Explore the idea of justice as you interact with a historical figure from the past. During the “Year of Frederick Douglass,” the bicentennial celebration of his birth, this Maryland icon will be portrayed by Bill Grimmette, a living history interpreter, storyteller, actor, and motivational speaker.

140th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s Return to the Eastern Shore
November (detailsTBD) Easton


Exhibition: Bent But Not Broken
February 13 through May 19 1 – 3 p.m. Banneker-Douglass Museum
Maryland artist Ulysses Marshall captures Frederick Douglass’s spirit through his highly expressive mixed media compositions – his colorful and poetic collages delivered with blunt sincerity. Marshall’s work talks of the glory, the pain, and the hope in Douglass’s life and in the African-American experience.

Our Bondage and Our Freedom: Frederick Douglass and Family in the Walter O. Evans Collection
February 23 2 – 3 p.m. Maryland State Legislative Services Building – Joint Hearing Room
There are many faces of Frederick Douglass. Explore them all as author Celeste-Marie Bernier presents her latest work on Frederick Douglass and family during this event sponsored by the Maryland State Archives.

Saturday Family Day: Celebrating Frederick Douglass!
February 24 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Banneker-Douglass Museum
Come celebrate the Banneker-Douglass Museum’s 34th Birthday as we honor our namesake, Frederick Douglass.

SHERO Film Series
March 10 Family Film Noon – 2:30 p.m. and Feature Film 5 – 7:30 p.m. Banneker-Douglass Museum
Inspired by Frederick Douglass’s support in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the Banneker-Douglass Museum and Filmsters presents two series of films and a panel discussion that explores women’s empowerment, intersectionality and feminism.

Frederick Douglass Community Day Banneker-Douglass Museum
July 1 1 – 3 p.m. Banneker-Douglass Museum
This fun summer event features performances, a Frederick Douglass re-enactment, family fun, food and beverage, guided tours of exhibitions and more.

Fourth of July Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony
July 4 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. William Paca House and Garden
This day’s festivities celebrate William Paca’s signing of the Declaration of Independence, an inspirational Naturalization Ceremony and a stirring recital of Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech.

Gospel Brunch
July 14 10 a.m. – Noon William Paca House and Garden
What better way to celebrate the life of Frederick Douglass than with gorgeous gospel music from the Extensions of Faith Choir, accompanied by a delicious brunch?



National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
January 1 – December 31 (details TBD) National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
Happy Birthday Frederick Douglass! Will consist of a year-long commemoration of the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass, such as lectures, panel discussions, seminars and workshops. Events will include the unveiling of a new wax figure of Douglass, and a book signing of the Frederick Douglass biography written by Kenneth B. Morris, the great, great grandson of Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass at 200
February 7 6:30 p.m. Maryland Historical Society
Noted scholar and professor of history at Yale University, David Blight, Ph.D., will bring his expertise to discuss the importance of Frederick Douglass’s life and thought as part of our recognition of Black History month.

200th Anniversary Celebration – Frederick Douglass Day at the Lewis
February 10 Noon – 4 p.m. Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Celebrate the 200th birthday of Maryland abolitionist Frederick Douglass at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum with an array of activities honoring this iconic statesman. John Stauffer, a professor of English and African and African-American Studies at Harvard University will present a lecture on Frederick Douglass’s America. Other activities will include readings of Dougass’s speeches by living historians and a children’s art and story hour with illustrator London Ladd on his recent book, Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass.

Happy Birthday Frederick Douglass
February 15 – March 2 Johns Hopkins University
This small exhibition of some of Douglass’s many publications –including two of his memoirs, an 1851 newspaper, and signature speeches printed as pamphlets –shows the depth and range of Douglass’s intellectual brand of activism.

Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Exhibition
February 2 – March 14 Baltimore City Hall
In honor of the great orator, abolitionist and women’s suffrage advocate, the Baltimore National Heritage Area installed an exhibit at the Baltimore Visitor Center to commemorate Black History month and Frederick Douglass’s life as a native Marylander. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a reproduction of an oil pastel mural created by Baltimore City Public School students. The exhibit will include pictures, maps, quilts, videos and other items on display that honor this iconic figure.

Baltimore’s Legends & Legacies Jubilee
February 17 Noon – 4 p.m. Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park
In celebration of Black History Month, Visit Baltimore and GreiBo Entertainment will present an afternoon of free, interactive and family-friendly activities from the city’s top attractions to celebrate Baltimore’s rich African-American heritage and culture, while encouraging inclusivity and community engagement. Steve Cole will portray Frederick Douglass and greet visitors at noon and speak about the USCT Volunteers during the Civil War.

Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Book Fair
February 24 Noon – 4 p.m. Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Park & Museum
The book fair will feature authors, publishers, publicists, literary agents, vendors, exhibitors, spoken word artists and performers. Books for sale include children’s, Christian, inspirational, educational, and historical literature and other positive literary works.

Meet Frederick Douglass During the Civil War
April 18 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Baltimore Civil War Museum
Steve Cole will portray Frederick Douglass and greet visitors. He will present about the USCT Volunteers during the Civil War.

Spend a Day With Frederick Douglass
April 4 11 a.m. Baltimore Civil War Museum
Spend a day with Frederick Douglass portrayer Steve Cole. He will be performing Douglass’s November 1864 speech “A Friendly Word to Maryland.”

180th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s Self Liberation
September 3 (details TBD) Baltimore Civil War Museum – President Street Station


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