The last public appearance Frederick Douglass never made [Evening Star, Feb. 20, 1895 “Suburban News”]

The night Frederick Douglass passed away he was scheduled to speak at a nearby church. An item in The Evening Star’s “Suburban News for Anacostia made note of the last public appearance Douglass never made.

“The members and friends of Campbell A.M.E. Church, Hillsdale, are celebrating the twenty-seventh anniversary of the organization of the church with appropriate services. The church is handsomely decorated. A special program has been arranged for this week. Tonight Rev. Dr. Collett, presiding elder of the Potomac district, will read a paper, and a short address will be made by Fred. Douglass. A reception will be tendered to ministers.” 

According to Cultural Tourism DC’s African American Heritage Trail, Campbell African Methodist Episcopal Church at 2562 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE, was established in 1867 as Mount Zion A.M.E. Its founding was due to the overcrowding of Allen Chapel A.M.E., which today is on Alabama Avenue, formerly Hamilton Road. Campbell A.M.E moved to “a location near its present one” in 1890, according to the trail marker. From my own  inspection, to the right rear of the current church there is a cornerstone which is dated from well past Douglass’ time.

In October of 1890 a ceremony of installation was held for William H. Liverpool and Miss Fannie Johnson who were inaugurated as superintendent and assistant superintendent, respectively, at the Campbell A.M.E. Sunday-school. Notable locals in attendance were folk from nearby churches, Solomon G. Brown, and Frederick Douglass, home for the moment from his duties in Haiti.

Campbell A.M.E. church today

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