I offered to advise Washington College and Prof. Adam Goodheart on the history of Frederick Douglass and his relationship with institutions of higher education but they were not interested.
They are many people and institutions exploiting Douglass for their own purposes which is very un-Douglassonian and should be forthrightly addressed with the greatest degree of severity and consequence.
I’m making it my place as a Co-Founder of the 16th & W Street Douglassonians to call out the lies and the liars, no matter who, what, where, when, why and how.
According to the announcement below, “Yet Douglass himself never had a college education, and Washington College is believed to be the first institution to award him an honorary degree since Howard University did so in 1872.”
This is patently FALSE. I tried to tell them but they are not Douglassonian scholars, whether credentialed or self-taught like Frederick Douglass, Esquire was.
There are folks and institutions which exert impious power of history, especially Douglass history, which has been “elusive” for more than a century because of many reasons.
If 2018 is the year of Douglass, then it is time to agitate, agitate, agitate.
And if you aren’t speaking with facts you’re speaking with nothing as it concerns the W Street Douglassonians.
Washington College celebrates the legacy of the Maryland-born human rights activist and the bicentennial of his birth, Feb. 23, 2018.
On the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth, Washington College is posthumously awarding him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. Douglass’s great-great-great grandson, Kenneth Morris, co-founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and David Blight, a professor of history at Yale University and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, will both offer remarks and receive the College’s Award for Excellence.
The free, public event, part of the annual George Washington’s Birthday Convocation, is slated for Friday, Feb. 23, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. The ceremony will also be livestreamed: https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/digital-media-services/live/
“Two hundred years after his birth, it is truly an honor for Washington College to recognize the tenacity and the moral courage Frederick Douglass exhibited by speaking out in support of equal rights for all men and women,” says College President Kurt Landgraf.
Born into slavery in February 1818, not far from the College’s campus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Douglass came to understand at a very young age that education would be his path to freedom: “Knowledge unfits a child to be a slave,” he wrote. In 1838, he escaped slavery and spent the rest of his life speaking out on human rights issues, including abolitionism and women’s rights, in addition to serving as a federal official and diplomat. His first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), is taught in universities around the world. Yet Douglass himself never had a college education, and Washington College is believed to be the first institution to award him an honorary degree since Howard University did so in 1872.
When Douglass was born, Washington College — the first college in Maryland and one of the oldest in the United States — had already existed for almost forty years. Among its founding donors, alongside George Washington, were members of the Lloyd family, on whose Eastern Shore plantation Douglass was enslaved during his childhood. The College remained a racially segregated institution until the late 1950s.
“Even without a formal education, Frederick Douglass steeped himself in newspapers, political writings, and treatises to become one of the most famous intellectuals of his time,” Landgraf says. “Washington College should have been thrilled to enroll such a promising scholar. We can’t change that history, but we can and should learn from it.”
For a complete listing of events commemorating Frederick Douglass’s bicentennial, visit https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/student-affairs/frederick-douglass-bicentennial/index.php
As part of the Douglass centennial activities on Feb. 23, members of the College’s Black Student Union will deliver copies of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Slave to eighth-graders at Chestertown Middle School. Joining them will be Ken Morris, a direct descendant of Frederick Douglass who will later accept the honorary degree on Douglass’s behalf. To honor Douglass’s 200th birthday, Morris’s family foundation is distributing one million hardcover copies of the book to middle-schoolers across the country.
The Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives is a modern abolitionist organization dedicated to teaching today’s generation about one of the most influential figures in American history and raising awareness about the ongoing crisis of human trafficking.
“Our message to young people today is that they have an obligation to get an education because of the contributions and the sacrifices our ancestors made,” says Morris. “Frederick Douglass never stepped foot in a classroom. He was completely self-taught. Imagine how he would have felt to have the same opportunities young African Americans have today. We also want inspire them through Frederick Douglass’s words and let them know that they can make a difference.”