At an address delivered in February at the Maryland Historical Society Prof. David Blight pontificated, speculated and invented misleading facts about Frederick Douglass.
Long on flowery and speculative prose while short on original research, Prof. Blight said during the latter years of Douglass’ life he was a “patriarch” who financially and emotionally supported a large family.
While his interpretation is his to advance, it is not his place to make up alternative and error-laden history and invent facts that are not facts. (His former student Prof. Stauffer has the same proclivity to lie.)
During his uninspiring talk Blight offered, “Douglass’ extended family was not a happy family. There is no family photograph.”
Although there may be no KNOWN photos taking during Douglass / Bailey family reunions to survive today or yet to be discovered by researchers, to declare definitively the absence of evidence is the evidence of absence is misleading and inaccurate.
By a short count there are at least four photos (some parts of series) of Frederick Douglass with a family member and there are two photos of his immediate sons sitting with each other and/or their wife.
David Blight has shown himself to distort, speculate and lie about his own research as well as the work of committed Douglass researchers. Blight’s claim there is “no family photograph” is just one of his many lies.
- In 1872 the Douglasses Rochester home was lost to a fire. Could there have been family photos that were lost? It is possible and worth mentioning.
- There are a series of photos of Douglass and his grandson, Joseph Douglass, a renowned violinist whose classical education was largely supported by his grandfather.
- There is a photo of Douglass seated with his second wife, Helen, and his sister-in-law Eva Pitts, an educator. There is also a photo of Helen and Frederick on their honeymoon with a backdrop of Niagara Falls.
- There is a photo of an older Lewis and Charles with Joseph Douglass. (Fred, Jr. passed in 1892.)
- There is at least one photo of Frederick Douglass and members of his family outside the first Washington home on A Street NE.
- A recently discovered photo is believed to be Frederick Douglass with his youngest daughter, Annie, before her untimely death in 1860.
- A photo of Lewis Douglass, the eldest Douglass son, and his wife Helen Amelia Loguen Douglass.