Trump signs law to honor 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass' birth

 This is an undated photo of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. | AP Photo

This is an undated photo of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. | AP Photo

The law, which sailed through the House and Senate in recent weeks, will establish a federal panel to carry out the upcoming festivities to honor Douglass.

By CRISTIANO LIMA 11/02/2017 06:21 PM EDT

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed legislation to create a commission for planning celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became an orator, statesman and leader of the abolitionist movement — and who the president seemed to imply was still alive earlier this year.

The law, which sailed through the House and Senate in recent weeks, will establish a federal panel to carry out the upcoming festivities to honor Douglass, who was born in February 1818 in Maryland and lived in the Anacostia region of Washington.

“Our Nation rightly honors the life of Mr. Douglass, a former slave who became an outstanding orator and a leader of the abolitionist movement,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House press secretary’s office Thursday.