Douglass is Appointed U.S. Marshal of the District of Columbia

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), the most important African American figure of the 19th Century, is appointed Marshal of the District of Columbia by President Rutherford B. Hayes.

This was the first appointment of an African American to require United States Senate confirmation. By occupying this post and distributing jobs, Douglass continued and strengthened the hold of black civil servants on minor government positions–the cornerstone of the staunchly middle-class black community in the Nation’s Capital.

Frederick Douglass lived and worked in Rochester, NY for most of his public career. After the close of the Civil War he moved to Washington, DC to carry on his work on behalf of African Americans. He served Washington in many ways, in international affairs, in the Council of Government for the District of Columbia, and finally as US Marshal for the District. In 1877 he purchased the home which he named CedarHill, the location of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. For a virtual tour of the Douglass home and to learn more about the achievements of Frederick Douglass, visit the National Park Service's online exhibit American Visionaries: Frederick Douglass.