Frederick Douglass Bridge opens with Labor Day celebration

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The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge opened with a 5K and community celebration on Sept. 6 and official ribbon cutting on Sept. 7. (Photo by Micha Green)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor
mgreen@afro.com

As many people celebrated Labor Day nationwide, Washingtonians took to Southwest, D.C. to commemorate an important part of the District’s history and future at the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge opening.

The day kicked off with a 5K run, which this reporter got to take part in.  As people ran, jogged, walked and skipped across the Frederick Douglass bridge, the sun shined bright along the water and hundreds of volunteers handed out water, snacks, and shouted cheers of encouragement.  Also along the bridge were tents representing organizations around the District, including, D.C. Health, which offered free vaccinations on site.

One D.C. resident was happy to be part of history and to see the fruits of her tax money.

“Glad to see where your money is going,” one woman said leaving the bridge opening.

The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge opened with a 5K and community celebration on Sept. 6 and official ribbon cutting on Sept. 7. (Photo by Micha Green)

As the race continued and the celebratory community day began, the D.J. had the music blasting, a Frederick Douglass impersonator greeted people throughout the function, The Nationals mascots TJ and GW were there to dance and take photos, and the emcee encouraged people to continue enjoying the historic day. 

“It’s okay to dance, this has been a long time coming,” the emcee said.

The District celebrated the groundbreaking of the bridge back in February 2018.

“The New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge project will have a tremendous impact not only on the District’s transportation network, but also on our economic growth.  This puts more District residents on the #PathwaysToTheMiddleClass,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on February 13, 2018 at the bridge’s groundbreaking ceremony.

A bit more than three and a half years later, Mayor Bowser reflected on the new structure at the ribbon cutting held on Sept. 7. 

“The new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is a fitting tribute to an iconic Washingtonian, a forefather of Black excellence who we continue to emulate and who helped build Washington, D.C. into the city we are today,” Bowser said. 

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