Archive for May 9th, 2012

Eunice P. Shadd, subscription agent for “The New National Era,” before becoming 1st African-American woman graduate of Howard University College of Medicine

In 1877, Eunice P. Shadd, younger sister of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, was the first African-American woman to confer a medical degree from the Howard University College of Medicine. The first four women graduates were of European nationality.

Before earning her medical degree, Eunice was a subscription agent for The New National Era on campus.

Her older sister, Mary Ann, would eventually earn her law degree from Howard University School of Law. Mary Ann was featured in the pages of the New National Era for her work in the classrooms of Washington City and would occasionally contribute her own articles and commentary.

After nearly sixteen years of publishing under the masthead of the The North Star, Frederick Douglass’ Weekly, and Douglass’ Monthly, the launch of the New National Era in 1870 was embraced by a legion of former contributors and correspondents. Mary Ann Shadd was one of countless displaced Washingtonians who had known Frederick Douglass during his days as an antebellum abolitionist editor.

In fact, Mary Ann was a contributor to papers Douglass published during Antebellum and Reconstruction.

The history of Douglass and the Shadd Tribe has not yet been told.

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Frederick Douglass’ last letter ever published in a newspaper? The Freeman, Feb. 9, 1895

How we forget in the historic telling and interpretation of Frederick Douglass and his life that he was at heart and orientation — among many other things — a newspaper man. It was in the streets of Baltimore an adolescent enslaved Douglass picked up The Baltimore American and finally got that elusive context clue — what was this “abolition” he kept hearing about– that sparked the intellectual fire that blazed throughout his life.

Until his last days Douglass saw himself as a newspaper man. Although it was more than twenty years since the last edition of The New National Era had emerged from the presses, Douglass has a fondness for that life and supported those who kept the torch burning which he, and a select group of others, had help to ignite decades ago.

The [Indianapolis] Freeman, February 9, 1895


A note as Follows, But a Few Days Since

Cedar Hill, Anacostia, D.C.

January 31, 1895


I do not mean to let the first month of this New Year pass away without the renewal of my subscription to the Freeman. With the thousands of your readers and friends, I continue to look to your columns for words of wisdom and cheer at this stormy period of our existence. I admire the Freeman for its fearless disclosure[?] of wrong in high places as well as [illegible] places – not less than for its manly defense of the principles. Though we may be present in various directions, we have much to be thankful for, and for few things more than for the pen and the liberty to use it. I enclose five dollars, which will apply to my subscription to The Freeman. If I owe more please tell and I will pay up.

Very Truly Yours,

Frederick Douglass


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Charles Douglass in 1870 Washington Mutuals Base Ball Club box score

In the fall of 1870 the Washington Mutuals Base Ball Club, of which Charles Douglass was a member, toured “through the western part of the state of New York” and promptly defeated the Arctic Club of Lockport, the Rapids Club of Niagara Falls, the Mutuals of Buffalo, and a “picked nine” at Rochester, – the city in which Charles was born and raised by his father, Frederick, and mother, Anna Murray.

This box score from The New York Clipper shows Charles (his last name misspelled) playing right field and batting eighth in a game the Mutuals won 23-19. Charles, the youngest son of Frederick Douglass, accounted for one run and made four outs.

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