US Coins

Bill introduced to honor work of Frederick Douglass

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass is the subject of legislation seeking a congressional gold medal.

Coin image courtesy of the United States Mint; circa 1879 portrait by George Kendall Warren in public domain.

Federal legislation introduced Feb. 15 seeks a congressional gold medal to be posthumously awarded recognizing the contributions to the nation by Frederick Douglass in “the cause of freedom, human rights and the abolition of slavery in the United States.”

Douglass was previously recognized with the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site on the reverse of the 2017 America the Beautiful, District of Columbia quarter dollar.

The Frederick Douglass Congressional Gold Medal Act, H.R. 7378, was introduced into the House of Representatives by Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Maryland.

According to Ivey’s bill, “Frederick Douglass overcame the harrowing circumstances of slavery to become one of America’s most prominent and influential figures as an abolitionist, journalist, and activist. He used his voice and influence to advocate for the end of slavery, the advancement of civil rights, and the right of black men to vote.”

Further, “his groundbreaking autobiographies, including Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881), provided detailed accounts of the life of an enslaved individual, the struggles to escape, and the fight for freedom. His abolitionist newspaper, the North Star, promoted freedom for slaves domestically and abroad. These writings not only exposed the brutalities of slavery, but also dispelled myths about African American inferiority.”

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