READ! “The Government Printing Office in Swampoodle” by Streets of Washington

Courtesy of National Park Service

Over at “Streets of Washington” writer-researcher-historian John DeFerrari discusses a well-known example of racism, as experienced by Lewis Henry Douglass, in postbellum Washington, DC. With a detailed history of the Government Printing Office, DeFerrari gives mention to the Columbia Typographical Union’s 1869 refusal to admit Lewis Douglass, thus lowering his wages.

Douglass, a veteran of the Civil War who had stormed the beaches at the famed Second Battle of Fort Wagner, was no slouch as a typesetter, having apprenticed as a young lad with his brothers, Frederick, Jr. & Charles, in their father’s printing offices for The North Star, Douglass’ Weekly, and Douglass’ Monthly.

Receiving discriminatory treatment while working at the GPO, Lewis left soon thereafter to work with his younger bother, Frederick, Jr., and his father Frederick, on the The New Era, which first hit the streets of Washington on Thursday, January 13, 1870.

Lewis and Frederick, Jr. would form their own printing company, the Douglass Brothers.

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