(Senate - October 18, 2017)

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[Pages S6590-S6591]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to the immediate consideration of H.R. 2989, which was received 
from the House.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill by title.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (H.R. 2989) to establish the Frederick Douglass 
     Bicentennial Commission.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, I rise tonight to join my House 
colleagues, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Congressman Andy 
Harris, to celebrate the passage of H.R. 2989, a bill to create a 
commission to honor Frederick Douglass in 2018, in the bicentennial of 
his birth.
  Frederick Douglass was enslaved at birth on the Eastern Shore of 
Maryland in 1818; yet he learned to read and write. He escaped from 
Maryland and moved to New York. In 1845, he published his first 
autobiography, ``The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: an 
American Slave.''
  He later escaped to Great Britain to avoid being returned to slavery. 
British Quakers paid for his freedom, which enabled him to return to 
United States, settling in Baltimore, MD, in 1847; yet he continued to 
be a strong abolitionist who campaigned against slavery and in favor of 
the right to vote throughout the east and midwest. In 1850, he oversaw 
the Underground Railroad in Rochester, NY.
  Douglass made four trips back to the place of his birth in Talbot 
County, MD. He reconciled with Captain Thomas Auld, who had enslaved 
him in the past. He made a pilgrimage to Tappers Corner in search of 
his grandmother's cabin and his birthplace. Moreover, he invested in 
the African-American community in Maryland through housing developments 
in his old neighborhood in Fells Point, now named Douglass Place, and 
at Highland Beach, a summer resort community outside of Annapolis.
  Among his many accomplishments, he served as an adviser to President 
Lincoln. Moreover, he received several appointments in the District of 
Columbia: legislative council, U.S. Marshal, and recorder of deeds. He 
was subsequently appointed Ambassador to Haiti from 1889 to 1891.
  Two hundred years after Douglass's birth provides an opportunity to 
reflect upon his legacy. He stated, ``We have to do with the past only 
as we can make it useful to the present and the future.'' I look 
forward to working

[[Page S6591]]

with my colleagues to commemorate his bicentennial by retracing his 
steps and promoting his guiding principles of freedom and justice for 
  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the bill be 
considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be 
considered made and laid upon the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The bill (H.R. 2989) was ordered to a third reading, was read the 
third time, and passed.