Archive for October, 2012

Frederick Douglass statue at FDNHS in Anacostia with his new book, “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia” [2012, The History Press]

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Book talk tomorrow at the Frederick Douglass house in Anacostia, Saturday [10/27] at 2pm

Look forward to catching up with folk at tomorrow’s book talk, Saturday, October 27th, at the Frederick Douglass house at 2pm.  in the visitor’s center. I have been told by NPS staff that the talk will be streamed alive and uploaded to their website. Books will be on sale and gladly signed.

Address: 1411 W Street SE, WDC 20020

Metro: Anacostia (Green Line)

Bus: U2, B2, 90 buses, etc.


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“Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia” part of National Press Club’s 35th Annual Book Fair & Authors’ Night [November 13, 2012]

35th Annual Book Fair & Authors’ Night

November 13, 2012 5:30 PM

Location: Ballroom

Join more than 90 nationally known writers autographing and selling their books at the Club’s 35th Annual Book Fair & Authors’ Night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. The evening will combine a night of literary fun with a fundraiser for the National Press Club Journalism Institute, which provides college scholarships, training for journalists and awards for excellence in journalism.

Tickets are free for NPC members; $10 for the public. NPC members should login for member registration. Tickets will also be available at the door.

View the current list of authors here. This is not the final list of participating authors.

For more information please contact Nicole Hoffman,

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Readex digitizes the “Evening Star” & features “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.”

History Press

Following the recent news that Readex is now offering institutions access to the complete historical run of the Washington Evening Star, here are comments from two leading researchers familiar with this influential newspaper.

“In digitizing The Evening Star, the leading daily newspaper of Washington, D.C., for more than a century, Readex has established a bright and promising new horizon for anyone looking back at the well-known—and the long-forgotten—people, places, and events that have defined the nation’s capital city.

“No other source compares to the Washington Evening Star for exploring the 19th- and 20th-century history of the District and surrounding areas.Star reporters rode the early- and late-morning street cars, investigated all manner of vice, crime, and murder, and kept tabs on local and national political figures, socialites, and business people. From every area of the city—from Georgetown to Capitol Hill to Anacostia—the Star offered the people’s news of the day with unrivaled fact, clarity, wit, and tenacity. Decade after decade it led its contemporaries in circulation for a reason. What an amazing online resource this is for D.C. researchers at all levels.”

— John Muller, author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C: The Lion of Anacostia (The History Press, 2012)

Full post HERE 

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READ: DCist’s Martin Austermuhle, “Literacity: Frederick Douglass’ D.C. Days”

Full article HERE:

National Park Service, FDNHS

“In the book, Muller dives into the complex and minute details of Douglass’ life in Washington—from his role as a newspaper publisher to public speaker and even the appointed U.S. Marshal for D.C., responsible for hunting down the very type of fugitive that he had once been. Muller also touches upon Douglass’ appointment as the D.C. Recorder of Deeds, and his service on the Board of Trustees of Howard University.

The book also touches upon the complexities of race relations in Reconstruction-era Washington, when slaves had been emancipated but segregation still remained. Muller tells of the death of Douglass’ wife in 1882, and his subsequent marriage to Helen Pitts, a white woman. The move shocked the city’s establishment—a Post reporter even asked him if it could compromise his position as a black leader—and showed the even the most ardent supporters of ending slavery still weren’t ready for what followed.

Muller’s book connects Douglass to the city and neighborhood the way no other project has yet been able to. In his epilogue, he explains that the research he did was motivated by his own questions during a visit to the Douglass house in 2010. In reading his book and visiting his home, you’re able to re-imagine the man and re-consider the possibilities of the place he once lived.”

Much thanks and respect to Martin for coming through to the Douglass house.

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October Book Talks for “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia”

Oct 13, 2012, Saturday, 1:00 pm, Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Free

Oct. 20, 2012, Saturday, 1:30 pm, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW., $20 [Part of a panel on new DC books with Garrett Peck, “Potomac River,” and James Johnston, “From Slave Ship to Harvard” hosted by the 39th Annual DC Studies Conference.]

Oct. 27, 2012, Saturday, 2 pm, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, 1411 W Street SE, Free

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Happy (belated) 172nd birthday to Lewis Henry Douglass, Frederick Douglass’s eldest & most trusted son, b. Oct. 9, 1840 d. Oct. 9, 1908

L-R_Charles Douglass, Joseph Douglas, Lewis Douglass. Courtesy LOC

Apologies about the lack of recent posts as we’ve been on multiple assignments and deadlines of late. But I wanted to take a moment to wish a Happy (belated) 172nd Birthday to Lewis H. Douglass, Frederick Douglass’s eldest and most trusted son. (Thanks to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site for the b-day reminder!)

Lewis fought for his country. He was a newspaper man. He was a labor man. He was a good uncle. He was also a member of the Legislative Council of the District of Columbia, appointed by President Grant.

Lewis also worked with the Bethel Literary and Historical Society at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church at 1518 M Street NW. He was the only one of Frederick Douglass’s four children who grew to adulthood not to have his own children, as I understand. He lived on 17th Street NW for many years. He worked closely with his father throughout their years together in Washington. He also was born and died on the same day of the same month.

While Lewis Douglass did not reach the heights that Robert Todd Lincoln did, Lewis was much the same in that he was a man on his own. An ambitious young scholar could gather enough material quite easily to write a full book on Lewis and/or Douglass’s children. We hope to see Lewis given his full measure one day.

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Drunk History Vol. 5 w/ Will Ferrell as President Lincoln and Don Cheadle as Frederick Douglass & Zooey Deschanel as Mary Lincoln

Fred had a sense humor. Don Cheadle, who portrayed DC street legend, community activist, and Emmy-award winning media personality Petey Greene in “Talk to Me“, as Frederick Douglass….

[Profanity in the video.]

[Ed. Note — This drunk lady doesn’t get all facts quite right but she gets more right than some historians have.]

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Academics bogard Frederick Douglass but the true power of one of America’s greatest native sons lives on in the the hearts and minds of school aged boys and girls

Courtesy of Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Institute

At last year’s Washington Antiquarian Book Fair there was an image of Frederick Douglass I had never seen before glued into a 19th century photo album. Its provenance was from a private collection somewhere in upstate New York. The seller wanted $1,000. I would rather put that towards an original copy of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I kept it moving.

Over the past year I have become familiar with some of the locations in Washington, DC that house Douglass material from Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center to the Library of Congress to the National Archives to the Washingtoniana Division of the DC Public Library. Beyond the city limits there are Douglass materials in special collections at the University of Rochester, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, and elsewhere. One of theses places elsewhere is Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Institute which has material I have never seen before in all my previous reading and research.

No doubt the academics love themselves some Frederick Douglass. But the true eternal power of his life will always be renewed and best honored in the hearts and minds of young school aged boys and girls coming up in communities from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to Rochester to Baltimore to Washington, DC to the rural hamlets down south in Alabama and Georgia who for the first team discover and find inspiration in one of America’s greatest native sons.

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