Prof. Lawrence Jackson of Johns Hopkins University advances new age Douglassonian scholarship

Frederick Bailey of Baltimore _ LJ_JHU_2.10.2018Earlier 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.

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