Archive for April, 2018
Why does Yale Professor David Blight say, he wants to “chain [Frederick Douglass] to a chair”? Blight exposes himself as a closet racist. Entire history community liable.
W Street Douglassonians can determine on at least two separate occasions — Harvard Law School in November 2016 and Maryland Historical Society in February 2018 — when Yale Professor David Blight has spoken of hypothetically chaining Frederick Douglass to a chair in order to interrogate him as to his “manipulative” autobiographies.
At Harvard Blight said:
And that’s the first problem that anyone working on Douglass faces. It’s how the autobiography is always in the way of the biographer. The problem with Douglass is that the subject is always in your way. And you’re constantly trying to get around him, through him, over him. Sometimes, you just want to sit on him. You know, chain him to a chair – bad metaphor – and say, “Stop now!” Why don’t you talk about these 100 subjects in your autobiography?
At the Maryland Historical Society Blight said:
I have this imaginary seminar that we’re going to have someday with Douglass and he’s going to be at the end of the table and we’re going to — bad metaphor — but we’re going to chain him to the chair! He can’t get out!
This is sickening. This is dangerous. This statement is calculated, deliberative and manipulative. This is racist.
This is an older white historian from Yale describing, for at least the second time in a public setting, a fantasy (he claims he has had) where he intends to “chain [Frederick Douglass] to the chair!”
That David Blight has masqueraded as a “Douglass Scholar” for decades, speaking at recent events such as “The Future of the African American Past,” represents the oppressive power of “White Man Lies” over the entire American historical industry, let alone the nascent field of Douglassoniana Studies.
The history and life of Dr. Douglass is too sacred to be distorted by racists, liars and used car salesman-types.
Special thanks to Marsha Andrews from Flint, Michigan. She recently contacted me on Facebook to defend David Blight’s racism. This post is because of her inability to tell me any errors in my scholarship.
W. S. Kerruish, Esq. recalls memories of Frederick Douglass at Case Western Reserve University in 1854 [“I saw Mr. Douglass walking beside the President and noted his dignity and his hair flowing away from his face, the look of self possession in his countenance.”]
Despite Washington College conferring an honorary degree to Frederick Douglass in February, to atone for the unknown history of its founding, and University of Rochester planning to award Dr. Douglas an honorary degree next month the epic true story expanding more than a half-century and across three continents of Dr. Frederick Douglass, a fugitive slave-scholar, and Higher Education has never been told
Whereas I can understand the intellectual dishonesty of Washington College, the prevailing indifference by the University of Rochester to tell the untold and unknown story of Dr. Douglass and the University of Rochester I cannot understand.
I have politely, since last summer, tried to communicate to Jessica Lacher-Feldman there is a history to Douglass and M. B. Anderson, John Henry Raymond and others at the U of R that has never been told by national, regional or local historians.
The continuous obstinate anti-intellectual orientation of academics to the history of Douglass and Higher Education demonstrates a monumental betrayal of the legacy of Dr. Douglass. We all must uplift the fallen history.
We owe it the heritage we all inherit as educators from 16th & W Street to the Great Pyramids to this county’s most prestigious universities, all places Dr. Douglass left a footprint and an echo.
The militant scholarship is just getting started. I’m still being polite.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Just a few words. He would be a very ambitious person who would undertake to make a speech after such a display of eloquence learning and good taste as we have had here to-day, and I am not going to make a speech at all, but one of two things have occurred to me during the course of the entertainment to-day, that brings to mind changes that have occurred in opinion during the past forty or fifty years.
I am reminded of them, and isasmuch as they are a little bit personal, you will excuse what I may say.
A good many years ago it was my fortune to attend college down here at the Western Reserve before it had been transferred to another name, and there was no senior class and no junior class at that time. I had the honor of belonging to the Sophomore class and never the honor of belonging to the Freshmen class.
I had been brought up under influences that were a little bit anti-slavery. Out in Warrensville, we had been taking a paper published by a Negro by the name of Frederick Douglass.
Hearing his name mentioned to-day reminded me of this story:
It was the custom when Commencement time came around, to select some person of distinguished literary character or political character, perhaps, to come and deliver an address before the students.
I started the ball in motion suggesting the selection of Frederick Douglass. The authorities, found it out and they regarded the matter as a scandalous disgrace that a Negro should be thought of to deliver an address to a literary and college society; and I recollect that the old President sent for me, when he found that I was the chief aggressor.
Another man, who was a minister of the Gospel and professor of Mathematics, also sent for me and wanted me if I could, to stop the movement in favor of the negro.
Why, said he, it would be a disgrace to have an illiterate man come there and deliver an address. I said to him that he was not an illiterate man.
I had read his paper, and though perhaps I wasn’t a very good judge, being rather young, I would venture to say that he would do pretty well. Now, there was a minister of the Gospel who was my coadjutor who helped me through: with his help we boys passed a resolution to invite Mr. Douglass.
It raised as might have been expected a big row. You people who are less than fifty years of age can’t imagine what a change of opinion there has been since.
We invited him, but received no answer for some time; finally an answer however came saying that he would come.
The day he came — I remember was a fine one — Providence was on our side— and I recall that there was the biggest assemblage at Hudson that ever assembled on a like occasion. A great tent was put up, in which the address was delivered.
The old President invited Mr. Douglass to his home and treated him as his guest. At the tent I was hid behind a big post, fearing some calamity would happen, but as I saw Mr. Douglass walking beside the President and noted his dignity and his hair flowing away from his face, the look of self possession in his countenance, I soon believed things were coming out all right.
He mounted the platform, looked around that vast audience perfectly self-possessed, and spoke a few words about the great interval there was between the slave plantation from which he escaped and the platform on which he stood.
Soon he held the audience as if it were in the hollow of his hand, and there was no revolution. The address was considered fine.
I remember I said to the Professor of Greek and Latin. “What do you think of the colored man now?”
“A great orator, a great orator — the son of some great Virginia orator,” was his reply.
– W.S. Kerruish, Esq.
The local history book out of Ohio which contains this anecdote is in safe care of Grandma, a versatile Douglassonian with active membership in:
Monroe County (NY) Douglassonians
Port Cities Douglassonians
SBA House Douglassonians
Rummage Sale Douglassonians
Liberation Douglassonians discussed effort to open “school in memory of Frederick Douglass in Cape Coast, West Africa,” modern-day Ghana, in 1900
The highest order of Douglassonian is a Liberation Douglassonian.
In recent years a situational and political awareness has emerged as being defined as “woke,” yet for generations scholarship on Frederick Douglass has been in a deep sleep.
Dr. Frederick Augustus Washington (Bailey) Douglass was at the tip of the spear his entire life to liberate the physical, mental, social, economic and political condition of his fellow brothers and sisters in America and around the world.
The liberation movement in which Dr. Douglass enlisted at a young age was an international movement for the liberation of African peoples throughout the country and the world. Douglass was and is more than what has been told by historians. The truth has yet been told.
The activist causes Douglass undertook in his life were reported throughout Africa for more than a half-century.
Before Dr. Douglass stepped foot on the continent his life and respected contributions to the liberation movement were well-known. While in Egypt he visited university.
Without dispute Dr. Douglass is America’s Pharaoh.
As evidence, a couple years after his death a nascent movement was discussed to bring a school to modern-day Ghana bearing the namesake of Dr. Douglass.
The mayor of the city of Rochester, a rising star in state politics, and an African minister who authored a brochure to advance an alternative interpretation of the continent than offered by white ethnographer and author Mary Kingsley spoke to advance the cause.
By the time of his death Rev. Hayford had helped organize dozens of churches in Afric a.
Dr. Douglass, America’s Pharaoh, initiated the African education movement of liberation through every word he spoke, wrote and published. This is an old movement in need of rejuvenation, revitalization and rebirth.
We are in need of One Million Abolitionists, One Million Scholars, One Million Liberation Douglassonians!
ROCHESTER, N. Y. – Efforts are making to found a school in memory of Frederick Douglass in Cape Coast, West Africa. Relative to the proposed enterprise a meeting was held in this city recently. The speakers included Mayor Carnahan and Rev. Mark C. Hayford, the latter of West Africa, who is visiting this country in the interest of African education.
Militant Douglass scholarship will continue. Just getting started.
The School Journal, Vol. 61. October 6, 1900, p. 331.
Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass & Higher Education: University of Rochester Edition, Pt. 4 [Letter, June 1879, from Frederick Douglass thanking citizens and friends of Rochester, President of University of Rochester for installing marble bust in Sibley Hall]
When the University of Rochester unveiled the long anticipated marble bust of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass by local artist Johnson Mundy on its campus in June 1879 the man being celebrated was not in attendance.
To recognize the University of Rochester, President Anderson and his friends and associates in Rochester who had commissioned the work and organized the effort Douglass sent a timely letter to confidant Samuel Porter.
The below article and letter from Dr. Douglass was contemporaneously published by the Democrat and Chronicle and re-printed by fellow Rochester newspapers.
Additionally, Douglass thought the statue consequential and important enough to mention in Life and Times.
It will be remembered that a bust of Frederick Douglass was recently placed in Sibley Hall, of the University of Rochester. The ceremonies were quite informal – too informal, we think, as commemorating a deserved tribute from the people of Rochester to one who will always ranks as among her most distinguished citizen. Mr. Douglass himself was not notified officially of the event and therefore could in no public manner take notice of it. He was, however, informed privately of it, and responded most happily, as will be seen by the following letter which we are permitted to publish: –
Washington, D.C., June 25, 1879
My dear Sir, – I am extremely obliged to you for your kind and timely letter which came this morning, for it was a relief from a real cause of embarrassment.
When I first read of the formal unveiling and the presentation of my bust to the city of Rochester, the speeches made on the occasion by imminent gentlemen, – notably the remarks of Dr. Anderson, the honored President of Rochester University, an institution which has done so much to make the name of the city illustrious, – I felt an almost irrepressible impulse to do or say something out of the common way to some one of my old friends and fellow-citizens, which should express however crudely, something of the grateful sentiment stirred in my breast by this distinguished honor.
But as no one of the respected gentlemen active in the procurement of the testimonial said anything to me about it, and treated me as if I were out of the world, as all men should be when they are once reduced to marble, I began at last to think that silence on my part was perhaps the best way to the properties of the occasion.
Now, however, I am relieved. You have made it easy for me to speak to express my earnest acknowledgements to the committee of the gentlemen having this matter in charge and who have conducted it to completion.
Incidents of this character in my life do much amaze me. It is not, however, the height to which I have risen, but the depth from which I have come, that most amazes me.
It seems only a little while ago, when a child, I might have been fighting with old “Nep,” my mother’s dog, for a small share of the few crumbs that fell from the kitchen table; when I slept on the hearth, covering my feet from the cold with warm ashes and my head with a corn bag; only a little while ago, dragged to prison to be sold to the highest bidder, exposed for sale like a beast of burden; later on, put out to live with Covey, the negro breaker; beaten and almost broken in spirit, having little hope either for myself or my race; yet here I am alive and active, and with my race, enjoying citizenship in the freest and prospectively the most powerful nation on the globe.
In addition to this, you and your friends, while I am yet alive have thought it worth while to preserve my features in marble and to place them in your most honored institution of learning, to be viewed by present and future generations of men.
I know not, my friend, how to thank you, for this distinguished honor.
My attachment to Rochester, my home for more than a quarter of a century, will endure with my life.
Very gratefully and truly yours,
“FREDERICK DOUGLASS,” June 28, 1879, Democrat and Chronicle, p. 2
The Frederick Douglass Project by Solas Nua opens May 10 – May 24 (10 shows) — A site-specific play staged on a wharf in DC’s Southeast Waterfront
For the first time in DC history, Solas Nua will bring a theatre production to The Yards Marina. Situated on the Anacostia River, this site-specific play is just a stone’s throw away from Douglass’ historic home at Cedar Hill.
Staged on a pier at the Marina, this world premiere musical was commissioned by Solas Nua to commemorate Frederick Douglass’ 1845 voyage to Ireland and the bicentennial of his birth. The production will feature live music, hip hop, and dancing in an innovative blend of African American and Irish culture.
The Frederick Douglass Project consists of two short plays. An Eloquent Fugitive Slave Flees to Ireland by African-American writer and local theatre star Psalmayene 24, and Wild Notes by award-winning Irish playwright Deirdre Kinahan, giving audiences a dual perspective on Douglass’ experience in Ireland.
This production is proud to be supported by The Irish Embassy, The DC Commission for Arts & Humanities, and the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation.
The Yards Marina
1492 4th Street Southeast
Washington, DC 20003
As this is a live event all ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.
General Samuel Smith, Mayor of Baltimore during Frederick Bailey’s flight to freedom, served as Vice President of founding of Maryland Colonization Society
Coming up running corners, alleys and the market square with the Point Boys, by the fall of 1838 the intellectually defiant, rebellious spirit of Frederick Bailey, known to leaders in both the white and free black community, got ghost.
On the 3rd of September 1838 General Samuel Smith, a veteran of the War of 1812, United States Congress and United States Senate, served as Mayor of Baltimore City.
Dickson Preston’s groundbreaking and influential Young Frederick Douglass is the only book which gives substantial attention to Fells Point. McFeely captures an especially interesting story from Fells Point folklore that survived nearly 150 years.
Has any Douglass scholar looked into the political climate of Baltimore City from 1820 until 1840?
I do not know but I can’t recall ever reading about the Mayor and City Council in existing Douglass Studies literature — specifically General Smith who in 1827 served as a founding Vice President to the Maryland Colonization Society, an auxiliary of the American Colonization Society.
While living in Fells Point the teenage Bailey had a connection with a Justice of the Peace who also served as an elector in municipal and statewide elections.
I won’t get into speculative and vacuous psychological scholarship to explain that this association Bailey had was important.
Prof. Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry: Confederate General heard Frederick Douglass while student at Harvard Law & arranged $500 donation to Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute in 1883
The only means in which to wage battle against the local, national and international oligarchy that exists to dumb down, simplify, exploit, speculate, manipulate and lie on Dr. Frederick Douglass is with militant scholarship.
The alleged scholars have little to no scholarship. This we know and their day of recompense with the historical investigatory tradition of Holland, Gregory, Quarles, Foner, Blassingame and Preston will be upon us if, and when, a new generation of Douglassonian scholars emerge.
Until they do I will provide facts and information found nowhere else, which in all likelihood will be shared elsewhere without attribution. It has happened before and will continue until the condition of Douglass Studies changes.
With that, how many Douglass scholars and experts are familiar with the connection Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry had with both Douglass and Booker T. Washington?
While a student at Harvard Law School Curry, reportedly, heard lectures in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area given by radical editor William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionist-agitator Wendell Phillips, statesman-historian George Bancroft, Rufus Choate, former President John Quincy Adams, statesman Daniel Webster and
educators Henry Barnard and Horace Mann.
Curry also heard a young Frederick Douglass orate.
After serving in Congress and serving as a general for the Confederacy Curry became an advocate for education throughout the South. In Curry’s position as agent of the Peabody Education Fund he arranged for a donation of $500 to Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute in 1883.
In the front matter of Washington’s 1901 autobiography a portrait of Frederick Douglass is followed on the subsequent page with a portrait of Curry.
In fact, Curry offers the introductory letter to Washington’s lesser-cited biographical work, which reads:
I HAVE cheerfully consented to prefix a few words introductory to this autobiography. While I have encouraged its publication, not a sentence has been submitted to my examination. From my intimate acquaintance with the subject, because of my connection with the Peabody and the Slater Education Funds, I am sure the volume has such a strong claim upon the people that no commendation is needed.
The life of Booker T. Washington cannot be written. Incidents of birth, parentage, schooling, early struggles, later triumphs, may be detailed with accuracy, but the life has been so incorporated, transfused, into such a multitude of other lives,–broadening views, exalting ideals, molding character,–that no human being can know its deep and beneficent influence, and no pen can describe it. Few living Americans have made a deeper impression on public opinion, softened or removed so many prejudices, or awakened greater hopefulness in relation to the solution of a problem, encompassed with a thousand difficulties and perplexing the minds of philanthropists and statesmen. His personality is unique, his work has been exceptional, his circle of friendships has constantly widened; his race, through his utterances and labors, has felt an upward tendency, and he himself has been an example of what worth and energy can accomplish and a stimulus to every one of both races, aspiring to a better life and to doing good for others.
It has been said with truth that the race problem requires the patient and wise co-operation of the North and the South, of the white people and the Negroes. It is encouraging to see how one true, wise, prudent, courageous man can contribute far more than many men to the comprehension and settlement of questions which perplex the highest capabilities. Great eras have often revolved around an individual; and, so, in this country, it is singular that, contrary to what pessimists have predicted, a colored man, born a slave, freed by the results of the War, is accomplishing so much toward thorough pacification and good citizenship.
While Mr. Washington has achieved wonders, in his own recognition as a leader and by his thoughtful addresses, his largest work has been the founding and the building up of the Normal and Industrial Institute, at Tuskegee, Alabama. That institution illustrates what can be accomplished under the supervision, control, and teaching of the colored people, and it stands conspicuous for industrial training, for intelligent productive labor, for increased usefulness in agriculture and mechanics, for self- respect and self-support, and for the purification of home- life. A late Circular of the Trustees of Hampton Institute makes the startling statement that “six millions of our Negroes are now living in one. room cabins.” Under such conditions morality and progress are impossible. If the estimate be approximately correct, it enforces the wisdom of Mr. Washington in his earnest crusade against “the one- room cabin”, and is an honorable tribute to the revolution wrought through his students in the communities where they have settled. Every student at Tuskegee, in the proportion of the impression produced by the Principal, becomes a better husband, a better wife, a better citizen, a better man or woman. A series of useful books on the “Great Educators” has been published in England and the United States. While Washington cannot, in learning and philosophy, be ranked with Herbart, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Hopkins, Wayland, Harris, he may be truly classed among those who have wrought grandest results on mind and character.
J. L. M. CURRY
WASHINGTON, D. C.
The Forgotten George Peabody (1795-1869), A Handbook A-Z of the Massachusetts-Born Merchant, London-Based Banker, & Philanthropist: His Life, Influence, and Related People, Places, Events, & Institutions.
Monroe, J. L. M. Education of the Negroes since 1860. 1894
Monroe, J. L. M. The South in Olden Time. 1901
Washington, Booker T. An Autobiography: The Story of My Life and Work. 1901
West, Earle H. “The Peabody Education Fund and Negro Education, 1867-1880.” History of Education Quarterly. Vol. 6, No. 2 (Summer, 1966), pp. 3-21