In this article I argue that scholars have been insufficiently attentive to Frederick Douglass's engagement with American cities, particularly Washington, DC. I show that Frederick Douglass's 1877 speech “Our National Capital” should not be relegated, as it usually is, to an autobiographical footnote, but is in fact an important document both in Douglass's philosophy and in the history of Washington, DC. This essay places that speech in both of those traditions. First, I give a brief account of Pierre L'Enfant's late eighteenth-century plans for Washington, DC as a cosmopolitan and regionally inclusive place, then use several figures, including Charles Dickens and Eastman Johnson, to show that actually existing DC failed to meet those ideals. The bulk of the essay then shows that Douglass's speech has great affinities with L'Enfant's original ideas, with Douglass adding the crucially important category of race to L'Enfant's vision for the city. I also use a number of Douglass's other writings, including speeches, essays, and autobiographies, to show that “Our National Capital” can serve as a capstone for Douglass's career, in which he articulates how an urban environment should function if it is to live up to his ideals.