Archive for May 13th, 2012

Ad for “The Underground Railroad” by William Still in 1872 pages of “The New National Era”

While making their home in Rochester, New York Frederick & Anna Murray Douglass were conductors on the Underground Railroad, assisting fugitive slaves on their last stop before getting “Canada underneath their feet.”

During Frederick Douglass’ lifetime he saw the clandestine network he had used to gain his freedom, and later used to aid others gain their freedom from Southern enslavement gain official recognition through the publication of articles, pamphlets, and books. Through these works the nature and unknown history of the “UGR” became popularized, and even later mythologized as some historians have argued.

William Still’s 1872 book, The Underground Railroad, one of the first works to document the UGR, is still considered “one of the most important historical records” to-date on this covert institution.

Here is a an 1872 ad in The New National Era for Still’s book.

And, yes, Frederick Douglass is mentioned in the book.

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Frederick Douglass National Historic Site wayfinding sign #1 _ 16th & W Streets SE

Photo by John Muller

Throughout the old streets of Historic Anacostia are wayfinding signs for the former home of Frederick Douglass, now the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site at 1411 W Street SE (formerly Jefferson Street).

The sign at 16th & W Street SE is of particular interest because the Metropolitan Police Department monitors this corner with a crime camera. Many of the young people I’ve spoken with outside of the corner store allege up and down that the Frederick Douglass house is haunted.

More on this later…

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