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

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
Through May 19, 2018  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, 2018 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.

Frederick Douglass Community Day Banneker-Douglass Museum
July 1, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018
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..

180th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s Self Liberation
September 3, 2018 (details TBD)
Baltimore Civil War Museum – President Street Station

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