Women’s History Month: Principal Ida Marshall; The Lost History of a Maryland Freedmen’s Bureau Teacher
If you can hear me, clap once. If you can hear me, clap twice.
If you understand the depth of this lost history clap thrice.
In honor of Women’s History Month we take a moment or two to recognize the radical, fearless and tireless educators that worked alongside and within the reformist networks and circles of influence from the bottom of the map to up top.
More than two years ago we told you about Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe, a member of the drum corps of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment who after the War deployed as a teenager to the Potatoe Neck of Somerset County to teach school with the Freedmen’s Bureau.
Today, we share with you an associate of Rev. Monroe’s who similarly came from up top in New England to work below the Mason Dixon Line for the educational and civic improvement of descendant communities throughout the state of Maryland.
Leading Freedmen Bureau affiliated classrooms and school houses in Harford, Kent and Howard counties, Principal Ida Marshal has apparently been overlooked and unrecognized by various private historical and educational organizations, institutions of higher learning and state-sponsored history and heritage agencies. Records indicate Marshall also taught in Delaware, areas of the American South, and in the mid 1870s returned to Maryland to teach in Howard County.
Within the philanthropic and educational networks of “colored” primary schools preparing students to attend institutions of higher learning within the regions of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington City, Principal Marshall, Rev. Monroe and Frederick Douglass are all closely connected.
For those that care to know, learn, and discuss the history with a fidelity to the integrity of the community give yourselves a clap or two.
This post is in recognition of Honorable Mrs. Merrion, formerly of Rosa Parks Middle School, and all legendary teachers who have ever taught. Your students do not forget.
Image of Principal Marshall, page 50 of Schooling the Freed People: Teaching, Learning, and the Struggle for Black Freedom, 1861-1876 (UNC Press, 2010)
Below are two images indicating Principal Marshall with the Freedmen’s Bureau School in Elk Ridge Landing in Howard County, Maryland.
Washington Informer: “The Lost History of Frederick Douglass and the Black Church” (February 25, 2021; John Muller & Justin McNeil)
“Moving forward there remains an incredible opportunity to mobilize existing church and faith-based networks and communities within the District and Baltimore metropolitan regions to share a more complete story of Frederick Douglass and the Black Church.”
VIDEO: “Frederick Douglass and Frederick County, MD – Frederick County Civil War Roundtable” (February 18, 2021)
Ed Note: Many years ago we had dinner with Mr. Fred Morsell and Frank Faragasso discussing the lost history of Douglass. We thank Mr. Morsell for his contributions to the field of Douglass Studies and sustained advocacy.
Video: “Reading ‘Columbian Orator’ was turning point in Frederick Douglass’ life” -> WBAL TV (February 5, 2021)
Washington Informer: “More Than Statues Needed to Honor Frederick Douglass” (February 4, 2021; John Muller & Justin McNeil)
“Moving forward there is an incredible opportunity to mobilize existing networks, communities and institutions to finally tell a more complete story of Frederick Douglass, the man and not the myth.”
VIDEO: “Baltimore’s Point Boys helped Frederick Douglass learn to read” -> WBAL TV (February 4, 2021)
Following the United States Civil War Frederick (Bailey) Douglass traveled and spoke throughout descendant communities within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, as well as travelling to the American South, touching down in communities throughout Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and elsewhere.
When arriving in town via the railroad, steamship or on carriage he was often greeted by brass and cornet bands, composed of USCT veterans and their children. This lively Black American musical tradition is maintained today by marching bands of this country’s HBCUs.
For a moment, imagine U.S. Marshal Frederick (Bailey) Douglass walking through Cambridge in Dorchester County, Maryland accompanied by a marching band playing “We Ready.”
REGISTER: “Lost History: Frederick Douglass & Frederick County, Maryland” w/ Frederick County Civil War Roundtable & National Museum of Civil War Medicine-> February 18, 2021
In April 1879 United States Marshal of the District of Columbia Frederick Douglass visited Frederick City to deliver a lecture to benefit Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, led before, during and after the Civil War by reverends associated with Douglass and his family.
Learn more about the interconnectedness and relationship of local institutions and Fredericktonians to Frederick Douglass from students at Howard University to caterers, barbers, ministers, educators, physicians and politicians.
John Muller, author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia (2012) and Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent (2013), has presented widely throughout the DC-Baltimore metropolitan area at venues including the Library of Congress, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Newseum, Enoch Pratt Library, DC Public Library, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, American Library in Paris, Washington County Library, Delaplaine Arts Center and local universities.
Muller has been featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV, C-SPAN’s American History TV, NBC4 (Washington, D.C.), WDVM (Western Maryland) and radio stations WPFW (DC), WAMU (DC), WYPR (Baltimore) and Delmarva Public Radio (Eastern Shore). For the past decade Muller has contributed hundreds of articles to local and national print and online news sources, including the Washington Informer, Washington Times, East of the River and the Washington Post.
In 2020, Muller co-founded Lost History Associates USA, www.losthistoryusa.com, along with Justin McNeil. They are currently working on a new book, Lost History of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in Baltimore.
Over the past six months Muller and McNeil have canvassed old churches, cemeteries, schoolhouses, train stations, farmhouses, towns and roads throughout Western Maryland in pursuit of the community’s lost history. They plan to share some of their groundbreaking research into the connectivity of Frederick Douglass to the communities of Frederick County.