Frederick Douglass takes his rightful place


The statue of Frederick Douglass was one of two statues  commissioned by city leaders in anticipation of having them placed in the U.S. Capitol. A sculpture of Pierre L’Enfant remains in a city office building. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

It took a decade’s fight and a half-loaf compromise to accomplish, but a seven-foot likeness of Frederick Douglass now stands in the U.S. Capitol, representing the District among statuary from the 50 states. Not unexpectedly, the dedication ceremony Wednesday was more about the man than the District he represents, my colleague Ben Pershing reports. While Vice President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used their remarks to renew calls for D.C. voting rights and statehood, respectively, prominent Republicans sat silent during mentions of Douglass’s frequent calls for full District suffrage. But Douglass is now in the halls of power for posterity, where he might be present for further advances in the struggle he so zealously led — even if they might be as paltry as winning admittance for the District’s other statute, of city planner Pierre L’Enfant. Said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), “None before or since Douglass … has so joined his national prominence and philosophy with the aspirations of the people of the District of Columbia.” More from the New York Times and WAMU-FM.

In other news:

Little-noticed D.C. Council bill would allow Pepco to claim $16 million tax refund (The Washington Post)

As Ron Machen puts the squeeze on Jeffrey Thompson, he’s also putting the squeeze on Vincent Gray (Post column)

Lee Calhoun, key to Jeffrey Thompson straw donor scheme, is in court today (Post)

Chartered Health Plan building included on tax sale list (WBJ)

One man’s reaction to Michael Brown plea: “I’m not surprised he got caught. I’m just surprised the rest of them haven’t gotten caught as well.” (Informer)

Time for another “Vince Gray looks like a candidate” story (WUSA-TV)

Paul Mannina’s jailhouse death “raised questions about the decisions of court and corrections officials” that deserve a “prompt, full and transparent investigation” (Post editorial)

Husband of Forest Hills attack victim: Relationship with co-worker was longstanding and platonic (Post)

Bikeshare workers press company, city officials to address wage complaints (PostWTTG-TVDCistHousing ComplexWRC-TVWJLA-TVWNYC-FM)

Eisenhower Memorial will move forward with Frank Gehry design (PostAPWaTimesExaminer)

Vincent Orange: I did not slip through any side doors (Loose LipsDCist)

Forget D.C. statehood, focus on D.C. federal tax exemption (Blade column)

“While we bemoan what is happening in the District, let’s not beat ourselves up too much thinking we are the only ones not choosing correctly” (Blade column)

When it comes to FEMS, those pesky reporters are always getting it wrong (STATter911)

“Can David Catania Ever Become Mayor?” (Loose Lips)

Saying goodbye to Spingarn Senior High School (Informer)

Report: 10,000 suspensions in D.C.’s public schools this past year (WAMU-FM)

“Magic money” is coming soon; how will the council spend it? (DCFPI)

Metro acknowledges train intercom problems (PostWTOPWAMU-FM)
New Ward 7 tennis center aims to give kids “essential life skills” (Post)

Pedestrians struck by SUV near Union Station (PostWTOP)

D.C. Chamber plays nice with health exchange, agrees to help with outreach (WBJ)

City ticket-writer has a hard time beating a ticket of his own (WTOP)

“I see no reason why I should get favorable tax treatment just because I’ve managed to live a long time” (Poverty & Policy)

Great Streets grant winners include shop offering “locally grown and sustainable products” on H Street NE (Housing Complex)

$50 million rehab planned for ex-Intelsat buildings in Van Ness (WBJ)

ABC Board scales back JP’s strip club plans (Post)

City rules church can’t remove historically protected stained glass windows (RPUS)

Should there be more curbs on sidewalk cycling? (GGW)

Tax Revision Commission has at least six ways to suck revenue out of tax-exempt land (WBJ)

“Is there anything on Congress Heights’ Main Street worth saving?” (CHotR)

Ex-Examiner reporter Scott McCabe is still doing his thing (D.C. Crime Stories)

Two dead in overnight violence (WRC-TV)

Slasher targets women in Ward 4 (WTOPWaTimes)

Arrest made in 2009 killing of two teens at Clay Terrace (Post)

Two more arrests made in March killing of she-store employee in Deanwood (Post)

A young Eaton Elementary graduate doesn’t let cerebral palsy stop him (The Post’s Answer Sheet)

Achievement Prep founder wins $25,000 award (Post)

Good advice for college-bound DCPS students (Post)

Mayflower Hotel is in “imminent” danger of mortgage default (WSJ)

Real estate wise, Ward 4 is hot (WBJ)

Montana governor on Georgetown: “Come on, I don’t want that smell on me” (Roll Call)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis | June 19, 2013