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Frederick Douglass Bicentennial

Frederick Douglass Bicentennial

Year of Frederick Douglass—February 2018 through February 2019

200th anniversary of his birth, February 14, 2018.

Purpose: To recognize and celebrate Frederick Douglass on his self-proclaimed 200th birthday of February 14, 2018 and to establish Maryland as the best place to discover his inspirational life and legacy with long-term visitor-ready sites, products, and experiences.

Lead Agencies: Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture & Maryland Office of Tourism Development, with stakeholders in Talbot County, Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel County.


Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot County February 1818. He spent his childhood and teenage years between Talbot and Baltimore City where he worked and taught himself to read, as well as organizing schools to teach others to read. On September 3, 1838 at the age of 21, Frederick Douglass dressed in disguise, boarded a train at President Street Station in Baltimore and left Maryland for freedom in the North. He would return to Maryland in November 1864 two weeks after Maryland’s Emancipation and many times thereafter until he passed away in 1895.

Today, Douglass’ legacy and significance is best exemplified through his unyielding desire for equal rights and freedom for all African Americans and women.  He was a self-taught and highly skilled writer and orator and he used these “tools” to inspire and educate the world about enslavement and emancipation.  At every opportunity, he used his own experiences to symbolize injustice.  

Maryland is home to more than two dozen places where residents and visitors can authentically experience his life-long journey.  In 2018, many events will be held across the state to honor and celebrate Frederick Douglass in Maryland’s “Year of Frederick Douglass.”  

The State of Maryland will lead nationally and internationally the commemoration of Frederick Douglass’ birth, his life, and the legacy of freedom, love and courage that he still inspires today.

Who: Tourism partners across Maryland are encouraged to create their own events and tourism products to celebrate the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’ birth in 2018 through February 2019.

Maryland Tourism Sites with bicentennial events as of 1/23:

What: Commemorate and celebrate Frederick Douglass’ Birth 200 years ago in Talbot County, Maryland by

  • Proclaiming 2018 the “Year of Frederick Douglass”
  • If you have a Maryland Frederick Douglass site or history that you would like to include contact Heather Ersts, Partnership and Outreach Manager,
  • Create a program, special event, exhibit, or other celebration/commemoration in honor of the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass and enter it into the calendar of events.

Social Media: #FrederickDouglass