WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed legislation to create a commission to plan celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, the prominent black abolitionist he insinuated was still alive earlier this year.
The Republican announced on Thursday that the commission will develop and carry out activities to honor Douglass. He said Americans have much to learn from Douglass' life and writings.
During the kickoff for Black History Month in February, the president said: "Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more." Trump critics said the comments came across as indifferent toward black people.
Douglass died in 1895.
He was born in Maryland, although there's debate whether it was in 1817 or 1818. The slave-turned-abolitionist lived for 25 years in Rochester, New York, where he's buried.