Douglass becomes the fourth African-American with a statue in the U.S. Capitol, joining Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth and Martin Luther King Jr.
The ceremony honoring Douglass was organized by House Speaker John Boehner and attended by Vice President Biden as well as some of Frederick Douglass’ ancestors, among others.
Sen. Harry Reid took the opportunity to bring attention to District of Columbia statehood since that was also an issue Douglass championed.
“It’s right and fitting that Frederick Douglass, this extraordinary man, this unflinching voice for freedom, this unyielding advocate for justice should be honored with an enduring monument. It is just and proper that more than 600,000 American citizens who reside in the District of Columbia should finally have a statue representing them here in the United States Capitol,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.
Reid continued, discussing how D.C. residents have all the burdens of citizenship but not all of the rights.
“Washington, D.C., residents have fought and died in every American war, just like residents of Ohio,
Kentucky, or any other state. Washington, D.C., residents deserve the same right to self-government and congressional representation as residents of any other state,” Reid said.
The statue of Douglass is 7 ft. and 1700 pounds.
Speakers at the ceremony also spoke of how Douglass, who taught himself to read and escaped slavery, never surrendered in the face of oppression.