Archive for February, 2018
Thank you to Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site for hosting presentation on Frederick Douglass and Howard University!
Speculative historian David Blight must immediately discontinue his dangerous disinformation and disrespect of Dr. Frederick Douglass. (Part 4)
Running the back creeks of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and drifting through indigenous communities across counties older than the formation of a country founded on the legal codification of African slaves as three-fifths of a human being, an apparition of a defiant enslaved abolitionist prince, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, and the benevolent and contemplative spirit of America’s Pharaoh returning to his birthplace touches historic churches, ancient family cemeteries with timeworn headstones, weathered docks, collapsed barns and cabins, cross-town highways and the current lives of record-breaking athletes pictured in the daily sports pages of the Star Democrat.
Memories of the benevolent visitant, the native son raised and muscled up on Eastern Shore pork, world traveler and confidant of Presidents, brother and cousin Freddy are hallowed and will be forever beyond reach of preachers and biographers.
At the conferment ceremonies of an honorary degree to Frederick Douglass this past weekend at Washington College speculative Yale historian David Blight crossed the boundary of fact and his own manipulative out-of-bounds White Man Lies.
Disgraceful speculation has no place in Douglassonian scholarship.
Prof. Blight’s irreversible disrespect of Douglass on his native soil, Maryland’s ancient Eastern Shore, haunted for centuries by spirits of runaway fugitive slaves, is reprehensible.
As a co-founder of the W Street Douglassonians I trumpet to all who can read and hear that Prof. Blight must immediately discontinue his dangerous disinformation and disrespect of Dr. Frederick Douglass.
No evidence for disrespectful and dangerous speculations
At a service to reconcile the irreconcilable truth founders of Washington College were members of the Lloyd family, architects of a plantation society that birthed an enslaved Douglass, Prof. Blight offered half-truths and dangerous speculations.
Before dignified members of the Douglass and Bailey families, without providing a molecule of supporting fact, Prof. Blight felt compelled to insinuate and/or allege:
- 1) In writing his autobiographies Douglass was “manipulative”
- 2) Douglass may have had an untoward relationship with two European women
- 3) the nearly half-century marriage of Frederick and Anna, rooted in their childhoods, was “difficult“
- 4) Douglass’ oversaw a “large often dysfunctional extended family” of three Union veterans, an activist daughter and an extended tribe of grandchildren who produced a world renowned violinist who performed at the White House and a Harvard scholar who taught for a generation at Dunbar High School
Recognize the tragedies and survival strength of the Frederick Douglass / Bailey Tribe
Death knocked many a time on the door of Dr. Douglass who outlived his pre-teen daughter, first wife of 44 years, namesake, and many grandchildren.
In one week Grandpa Douglass lost grandchildren on successive nights.
I speak for W Street Douglassonians and formative friendships I’ve had with grandchildren of runaway fugitive slave-scholars since my prepubescent years in declaring nothing less than an immediate discontinuation of Prof. Blight’s public and private statements suggesting Douglass and hundreds of Douglass / Bailey tribe members are anything less than descendants of a warrior tribe which produced America’s Pharaoh will suffice.
The falsehoods and slanders of Prof. David Blight has moved beyond the pale of what can be accepted. The continued suggestion of these unfounded accusations should be immediately addressed by the small community of existing Douglassonian Scholars.
Lies supported by philanthropic, academic, government and public history associations and institutions.
Lies should have never been allowed to be uttered in the first place. I previously forewarned Prof. Adam Goodheart, President Kurt M. Landgraf and others at Washington College about the consequence of depending on the unreliable speculations and nonexistent scholarship of Prof. Blight.
I may now be impolite.
Everyone responsible for Prof. Blight’s backwards and irresponsible remarks at Washington College should be ashamed and humiliated.
By awarding an honorary degree to Frederick Douglass the tenth oldest college in this country, named for our first president, has taken an important step to properly recognize Douglass on the Eastern Shore. However, there is much work to begin, build, preserve and maintain a newfound dignity for the tradition of Douglassonian Studies.
There must be a restorative liberation movement of local and worldwide Douglassonians.
Prof. Blight has enjoyed a life of ease aided by the misbegotten label “Douglass expert” carrying him across the world and country without a work product in nearly thirty years to support this fictitious credential maintained by hundreds of philanthropic, academic, government and public history associations and institutions.
It is time for the lies to stop. Been time.
Allow me to reintroduce myself, Dr. Frederick Douglass receives Honorary Doctorate from Washington College
“I had the honor of accepting a posthumous Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for Frederick Douglass from Washington College Friday night in Chestertown, MD. My ancestor was born into slavery about 30 miles from the school. His slave master was a benefactor to Washington in its early years. Douglass never spent one day of his life in a classroom because it was illegal for an enslaved person to get an education. He could not have attended this school in his lifetime. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth, he received this long overdue recognition. We are proud to partner with Washington College on our One Million Abolitionists project.
Join me in congratulating, Dr. Douglass.” – Kenneth B. Morris
“Allow me to reintroduce myself, Dr. Frederick Douglass …” – Tarence Bailey
Philadelphia Tribune features photo of “Spread Southside Love” mural (Tues., February 20, 2018, 3-A)
“Hundreds gather at Frederick Douglass home for bicentennial” by Bobbi Booker
Pictures from Anacostia Walking Tour during Douglass Bicentennial Birthday (Sun., February 18, 2018)
If you’ve attended a Douglass-related or Civil War-themed event in the DC area over the past year or so you’ve probably been photographed by the enigmatic Eric Zhang.
Eric is an honorary W Street Douglassonian. He comes through.
Thank you to our friend Eric for the photos and to Anacostian Dewey Sampson for taking a moment to talk with Sunday’s walking tour group coordinated as part of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Sites’s Douglass Bicentennial Birthday.
Earlier this month at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore I attended a presentation by Douglassonian Studies scholar Dr. Lawrence Jackson of Johns Hopkins University.
Attentive and insightful historians can easily distinguish speculation from scholarship. Unfortunately, in the nascent field of Douglassonian Studies speculation stills reigns.
Fortunately and thankfully there is yet hope.
Using Census records, maps, pamphlets, newspapers, city directories and other scholarly resources Prof. Jackson introduced information gleaned from the creation of four interactive digital maps using GIS software. Jackson collaborated with his students, passing on the Douglassonian tradition, to generate these maps.
According to an online article about the project Jackson led, “Working with the Maryland Historical Society, the four students combed archives, old newspapers, and census records to trace Douglass’ pathways in the 1820s and ’30s. Then, with JHU’s Sheridan Libraries, they used the ArcGIS digital mapping platform to construct a visual narrative.”
Having attended dozens of Douglass discussions, panels and lectures over the years I can state beyond metaphysical certitude that, along with other scholars such as Prof. Leigh Fought, Zoe Trodd, Celeste-Marie Bernier and Morgan State doctoral candidate Candace Jackson Gray, Prof. Jackson is advancing Douglass scholarship to areas of previously unexplored terrain.
“Frederick Bailey of Baltimore” was an original, engaging, thoughtful and revealing discussion of the early years and experiences of Frederick Bailey in Baltimore as told through new sources of scholarship.
We commend Prof. Jackson and hope to see, hear and read more of his work on Douglass in the near future.