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Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.:: The Lion of Anacostia Paperback – October 2, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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John Muller has become one of America's premier young historians. His latest work on Frederick Douglass is an example of what history writing should be. Lively, pithy, humorous, and, by turns, grave and unrelenting, Muller's Douglass is Douglass as he was. The former slave comes to life in Muller's capable hands and so does Howard University, Anacostia, and post-Civil War Washington. America is fortunate to have a son like John Muller who knows that American success today and in the future has its beginnings in a 19th Century world that Frederick Douglass did much to create. - Mark H. Metcalf

[Muller] has combed through previously untapped sources to reconstruct Douglass's life in the nation's capital, both at home and in the halls of power, in ways that no other biographer has done. - Dr. Leigh Fought, author of forthcoming Frederick Douglass's Women.

Equally important as his many public commitments was his family life in old Anacostia, then known as Uniontown. Muller fills in telling details about this thriving little community on the other side of the Anacostia River from the Navy Yard. - John DeFerrari, Streets of Washington

Muller's book connects Douglass to the city and neighborhood the way no other project has yet been able to. In his epilogue, he explains that the research he did was motivated by his own questions during a visit to the Douglass house in 2010. In reading his book and visiting his home, you're able to re-imagine the man and re-consider the possibilities of the place he once lived. - Martin Austermuhle, DCist, 10.12.2012

With the pending placement of Douglass's statue, currently in the lobby of One Judiciary Square, in the Capitol's Emancipation Hall there seems to be a "New Washington" ready to finally recognize all that Douglass meant to the nation's capital. - Washington Post, 10.12.2012, "Acknowledging Douglass's Impact" (By John Muller)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609495772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609495770
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Garrett Peck on December 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Author John Muller has done a tremendous service in researching and writing a history of Frederick Douglass's final years of his life, more than two decades spent in Washington, D.C. Far more than just a local history, Muller provides a glimpse into the life of Douglass, the most prominent African American of the nineteenth century and a nationally recognized figure. Muller has done his research, uncovering a story that has been inexplicably overlooked - until now.

Douglass moved to Washington in 1872 and remained in the city until his death twenty-three years later. During this time he became a newspaper publisher, a U.S. marshal, a board member of Howard University, all while continuing on the lecture circuit. "His accumulation of wealth was prodigious for his time," Muller writes. "He was an industrialist of the mind, paid from his mastery of both the written and spoken word."

Douglass bought a splendid Victorian house in Uniontown (now Anacostia), preserved today as a national historic site. He became known as the Lion of Anacostia (and also as the Sage of Anacostia). Being the elder statesman of the black community had its privileges.

His years in Washington weren't without controversy: after his first wife died, Douglass married a white woman, Helen Pitts, an action that caused a minor uproar in both the black and white communities. Douglass defended himself: "I have simply exercised the right which the laws accord to every citizen, and I am astonished that a city so large as I considered Washington to be should become at once so small." The chapter on Douglass's wives is, in my opinion, the best chapter in the book.

Douglass had long been an advocate for civil rights, and many expected Douglass to get involved in politics during Reconstruction.
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Format: Paperback
Muller goes in-depth exploring how Frederick Douglass was connected to the city of Washington, DC in so many different ways. The author does a good job digging through local archives and providing historical context. This should be required reading for anyone wanting to know more about the personal, day-to-day life of Douglass.
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Format: Paperback
I just witnessed John Muller on BOOK-TV discussing his new book. He did his talk with a slideshow presentation to help the audience better understand the locations and characters and the era of Douglass. This is obviously a remarkably well researched edition because he explained so much more than my household knew and we had read a couple of small books on Douglass already.

Muller himself won the hearts of my husband and me as we watched his speech this evening. We both commented on his articulate presentation along with his passion for the subject. Indeed, his charming humility was so touching, we are buying the book immediately. Having toured the Douglass home several years ago (and read of his accomplishments,) I am positive this new book will be filled with even more insight; Muller's speech certainly was!

It is my sincere hope John Mueller's work does not end with this book. He should continue to write, speak on BOOK-TV (a cable television channel) and ALWAYS CHOOSE SUBJECTS HE TRULY LOVES AND ADMIRED -- BECAUSE IT SHOWS.
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Thanks to Groupon I learned that Frederick Douglass had an estate in Anacostia and that special tours of the area were available on Sundays led by the young author of an Douglass biography. We didn't expect snow but we got it. Too cold for the Mrs but I hung in there. Glad I did. Fred Douglass and John Muller are the real deal. You owe it to yourself to see the estate, take the tour (of both house and neighborhood) and read both Fredrick Douglass' autobiography and John's book. It will entertain and inspire you. It did me.

Thanks John for helping remember a real American hero.
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