Frederick Douglass as profiled by Jane Marsh Parker [Salt Lake Evening Democrat, April 23, 1887, p. 4.]

“A marked characteristic of Frederick Douglass is his love for music. When but a little fellow he would go up to “the great house” to hear the violin play for the dancers. The fiddler, he says, did not play common airs, but the best music, and while he listened the little yellow boy under the window forgot everything else. Love of music drew him to the Methodist meetings, for the singing was music to him, and he joined in with a will. It was at these meetings he began to speak in public, and discovered how well he could talk and the pleasure in being praised for the same. When a Sunday school exhibition by the free negroes was in prospect he found a chance for exercising his budding oratory. He bought a “speaker” with the “tips” his master had given him for blacking boots, and selected a piece with a plenty of big words – a college oration was wherein expounded what man can by imagination. The words were Greek to him, but he particularly liked rolling out: “He can soar aloft where stars glitter on the mantle of light and a more effulgent sun lights up the blushes or morning.”

Talking with Frederick Douglass one is sometimes inclined to think that, interesting as his autobiography is, it does not contain many of the most interesting experiences of his life, those he once thought, perhaps, insignificant to the public. On his wife’s piano at Cedar Hill you may see the very same music book that he slipped into his bundle when he skipped out of Maryland. It is worth something to see him standing with his violin singing with Mrs. Douglass those old “Seraph” hymns. If you had breakfast with him on a Sunday morning he will pass you with his own hand the Maryland biscuit, and is it not worth knowing that are just like the biscuits “Miss Lucretia” used to give him when half starved he sang under her dining room window? “I used to wish I could have my fill of them, and now I mean to have, you see?”

There was living in Washington a year of so ago an old colored man, who was a fellow slave with “Fred,” as he still calls him. His wife was the daughter of the old fiddler of “the great house.” Hearing them talk together – the recorder of the District of Columbia, and the tender of a furnace in the Capitol – laughing merrily over reminiscences of the plantation, was a unique experience.

“No, I don’t remember anything special that Fred used to do in them days,” said the old man in reply to probing inquiry, “only he jes wouldn’t be put upon and wanted to boss everything.”

Full story available HERE:

SOURCE:

Salt Lake Evening Democrat, April 23, 1887, p. 4.

* This story was re-printed in papers throughout the country. *

Jane Marsh Parker was friends with the Douglasses for decades and contributed articles to leading magazines of the late 19th century and early 20th century. She wrote novels as well as histories, including an 1884 book about the history of Rochester, New York which features Frederick Douglass.

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Frederick Douglass offers “complimentary remarks” at the Miner School [Evening Star, June 20, 1878]

Miner CollegeCLOSING EXERCISES AT THE MINER SCHOOL BUILDING. – This morning the closing exercises of the normal class of the Miner School took place in the Miner building, corner of 17th and Samson streets, in the presence of quite a large audience. Among those present were Rev. Dr. Patton, president of Howard University, Rev. Clay Macauley, Marshal Douglass, G. E. Baker, W. W. Johnson, Mr. Blanchard, Mrs. O’Conner, and Mrs. Winslow of the Minor [sic] School board, Messrs. J. H. Brooks and H. Johnson, of the Board of Public School trustees, Mr. H. R. Miles, and others. The examination in the higher branches of English was conducted by Miss Sarah J. Smith, principal, and it was very interesting and creditable continuing from 9 1/2 o’clock to past noon. Mr. Douglass and others made some complimentary remarks at the close.

SOURCE:

Evening Star, 20 June, 1878, p. 4.

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Book Talk at the Beatley Central Library, tomorrow, Wed., May 14th @ 7pm

Literary Calendar _ John MullerAs part of All Alexandria Reads I’ll be giving a presentation tomorrow, Wednesday, May 14th at the Beatley Central Library at 7pm. See you there!

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HOWARD UNIVERSITY. Views of Fred. Douglass Upon the Proposed Changes in its Management [National Republican., June 24, 1875, p. 4.]

LOC

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HOWARD UNIVERSITY.

Views of Fred. Douglass Upon the Proposed Changes in its Management

The Washington correspondent of the Chicago Inter-Ocean, after giving an account of the decision of the board of trustees of Howard University at its late meeting in deciding upon a change in its conduct and transforming it into a congregational institution, comments as follows:

This action was strongly opposed by all the colored members of the board, who look upon the movement with suspicion, and as being, if nothing worse, a flagrant departure from the original design of the university, and very inimical to its success. The vote was divided strictly on the color line. Professor Langston, at present acting president, being the choice of the colored trustees for president.

In conversation with Fred Douglass, this morning, he showed considerable feeling. He said the colored people had considered this the only one institution in the nation where they could educate their children without fear of prejudice. It had been established for them, and largely with their money, and it was no more than fit and proper, in his opinion, that they should control it. The original plan of the institution was that it should be exclusively for colored people, and as fast as colored men were educated they should be established in the professorships and trustees’ chairs; and further, that it be entirely unsectarian and embrace all branches of learning. He had hoped soon to see medicine, engineering and other professions added to its already established branches of theology and law, but this movement would defeat all such plans, and the financial interests would be controlled by the same men who had injured the prospects of the colored race in the unfortunate management of the Freedman’s Bank. Mr. Douglass had no complaint against the new president, Dr. Whipple. He was a wise and good man; but the moral effect of the change would be bad. He hoped to see the institution ultimately restored to the original control, but the new management would have one year, till the next annual meeting of the trustees, for the experiment.

Source:

National Republican., June 24, 1875, p. 4.

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Frederick Bailey walking tours … St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square presents historic walking tours

Dr. Dodson House in St. Michaels

Dr. Dodson House in St. Michaels

ST. MICHAELS — During its 2014 May to October season, St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square will continue to offer docent-led historic walking tours every Saturday at 10 a.m. beginning May 3.

The major tour, “Historic St. Michaels: its People, Places and Happenings,” will be offered on the first three Saturdays of each month. This tour will give highlights of St. Michaels during the 19th century, chronicling the rise and fall of the shipbuilding industry, the War of 1812 and battles of St Michaels, and the rise of the seafood industry. These stories will be told by viewing many restored structures from that era and describing life of famous and typical residents of these times, including Frederick Douglas. On the fourth Saturday, the museum’s signature tour, “Frederick Douglass, a slave, in St. Michaels 1833-36,” will give a more detailed view of the early life of St. Michaels’ most famous 19th century resident.

These Saturday tours last about 90 minutes and are available for $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 17, with the fee including both the tour and museum entry fee. Detailed schedules can be found on the museum’s website, www.stmichaelsmuseum.org. Email stmichaelsmuseum@atlanticbb.net for reservations and information. Subject to docent availability, either of these tours can be offered at other times for groups of five or more. Email stmichaelsmuseum@atlanticbb.net or call 410-745-0530 for information on schedules or special group rates.

The new “Historic St. Michaels: its People, Places and Happenings” tour will begin at the museum where a diorama highlights the British attacks on St. Michaels on Aug. 10 and 24, 1813, and the impact of these battles on the St. Michaels community. This will be followed by a walk through St. Mary’s Square to Muskrat Park and then on to Navy Point. Along the way, participants will see many original and restored houses from the 1800s while learning about life in a small waterfront village and the vibrant shipbuilding and seafood industries of that era. Featured are colorful stories of many of the people and events. Highlights include the history of the layout of St. Michaels by James Braddock, the cannon involved in the battle of St. Michaels and the Cannonball House that was struck by a cannon ball that rolled down the interior stairs and frightened a woman holding her baby.

At Muskrat Park, visitors will learn of the transition of Church Cove to Muskrat Green and see replicas of the cannons from 1813. Continuing down Locust Street, they will come to “Hells Crossing,” and at the foot of Carpenter Street is the Higgins Boatyard, the oldest continuously operated boat yard in town and one of several in operation in 1812. Then comes the Dodson House site of Frederick Douglass’ 1877 return to reconcile with his former master. Following on to Navy Point, visitors get a view of St. Michaels Harbor and will hear how Honeymoon Bridge was named, how the seafood industry developed on Navy Point and more about 19th century activities in the harbor.

On the “Frederick Douglass, a slave, in St. Michaels” tour, participants can follow in the footsteps of Frederick Douglass during his teenage years in St. Michaels. Arriving as Frederick Bailey, 15, in 1833 and leaving in 1836 determined to acquire his freedom, his years in St. Michaels were critical in the development of this great man.This tour will offer an historical perspective of Douglass’ life in enslavement and his return to reconcile with his former master.

For more information, call Chip Britt 410-745-0530.

 

Source:

The Star Democrat

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U.S. Marshal’s Office document, October 3, 1877 signed by Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass jail document _ 1Available for $749.00 on Ebay here!

*Douglass purchased Cedar Hill for $6.700 just weeks before.*

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U.S. Marshal’s Office document, June 16, 1879 signed by Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass jail documentAvailable for $749.00 on Ebay here!

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