A bill establishing the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission to commemorate the 200th birthday of the famed 19th-century abolitionist, writer and public servant soared through the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

Celebrations are planned next year for the 200th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birthday.

The bill, co-sponsored by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) establishes a federal panel that would plan and execute celebrations next year honoring the life of the late Anacostia resident. In the U.S. Senate, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, both Democrats from Maryland, have introduced companion legislation to Norton’s.

Norton’s bill passed the House on a voice vote with no objections.

“I am grateful for the bipartisan support for our bill to honor the life of Frederick Douglass,” Norton said. “With House passage of our Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of a nationwide celebration on the bicentennial of Douglass’ birth. I look forward to working with our allies in the Senate on swift passage of our bill to ensure the commission has the time it needs to plan next year’s many programs and activities.”

Douglass was a District resident when he was appointed the minister of Haiti and served a term as the city’s U.S. Marshal and Recorder of Deeds, the first Black to hold either of those positions. Douglass, who was a close advisor to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, was also a trustee of Howard University and was known to frequent Black churches such as Metropolitan AME and Asbury UMC.

The home Douglass owned in D.C. sits on a hill in the Anacostia neighborhood in Ward 8, and is a National Park Service site which attracts thousands of visitors every year. Douglass represents the District in U.S. Statutory Hall at the U.S. Capitol.

The Douglass Commission would be composed of 16 members appointed by the president and congressional leadership. The four presidential appointments would be based on the recommendations of the District’s mayor and the governors of Maryland, Massachusetts and New York, states where Douglass worked and lived.

Douglass was a passionate 19th-century Republican, Harris said he is happy to support his fellow GOP member.

“I commend my colleagues in the House for passing the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act,” said Harris, who represents much of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, including Talbot County, where Douglass was born. “In September, I had the privilege of visiting Wye House, a plantation on Maryland’s Eastern Shore where Douglass spent part of his childhood. It was truly incredible to learn more about the history of Frederick Douglass and the other enslaved people of Wye House, and to explore the origins of modern African American heritage and culture.”

“As we approach the bicentennial of Douglass’ birth, all Americans should learn more about his work as an abolitionist and his lasting influence on our nation’s culture, as I did at Wye House,” Harris added.