Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass (Courtesy of

In February, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s birth.

Born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as a slave, “Frederick Bailey,” did not know the exact date of his birth, and thus chose Feb. 14.

Teaching himself how to read and write and finally escaping slavery in 1838, with the help of a free black woman who would later became his wife, the abolitionist changed his last name to Douglass after they moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts.

A masterful orator, Douglass traveled around the country speaking about his experience as a slave and in 1845, published his first autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.”

As we close out this Black History Month, let us all take time to remember those who have paved the way before us.

Before there was a Malcolm X, there was a Marcus Garvey, and before there was a Rosa Parks, there was a Sojourner Truth, and before there was a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., there was a Frederick Douglass.

Katherine Hines

DCPS Chief’s Resignation Uncalled For

So last week, the now-former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson resigned from his position following a violation in school policy by bypassing the District’s school lottery system to secure a transfer for his daughter to another school.

In statements from various council members and educators, they all said the same thing in that he was a good person with strong work ethics and that he would be hard to replace.

So why call for his official resignation? Surely there could have been another option, perhaps a potential fine. But to can a man that came all the way from uprooting his family from Oakland to D.C. just seemed a little unfair. You have single-handedly ruined this man’s career, and for what? A school change amid allegations that his daughter was being treated poorly in her school. This is crazy. I’ve seen worse principals, teachers and DCPS administration do far worse and receive less to nothing in terms of punishment. People are something else.

Janis Welch

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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