Young Men Not Afraid to Perish to the Front!
Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass knew them all.
An adolescent apocalyptic prophet. Front-line fugitive scholar. Outspoken voice of the battle cry of freedom in President Lincoln’s ear.
A select few in the pantheon of American history have walked the earth in their time and era with equal authority of Dr. Douglass.
In Old Anacostia the guardian spirit of Dr. Douglass protects all children who first step on corners which have claimed cousins, older brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, mothers and fathers.
Old men faithfully walking dogs no bigger than a Nike boot commune with Dr. Douglass when they share a word of encouragement with elementary students anxious about the approaching first day of school.
At all hours of the night, to the first light of the day a stately mural of Dr. Douglass looks over the corner of 16th & W Street, ever watchful.
Youngsters in Old Anacostia today see the manifestation of their world famous neighbor, Dr. Douglass, everyday.
Whereas the psyche of the present-day community keeps alive the memory of Dr. Douglass, in his day Dr. Douglass was known to have a youngster’s back, front and both sides.
Many mythomane historians have default retreated to the well-worn path of both least resistance and least scholarship in their proclivity for ascribing speculative predilections and vapid rhetoric as a substitute for research.
Those White Man Lies and White Woman Lies can be taken elsewhere as they will no longer be politely ignored.
If scholars are not discussing or advancing the scholarship of Dr. Douglass they are not welcome.
We have known scholars to speculate the dynamics and motivations for the military enlistment of the Douglass Boys — Lewis, Frederick, Jr. and Charles. As eldest son of a combat veteran United States Marine and older brother to a combat veteran United States Marine we only promote honorable scholarship.
The Douglass boys were raised in the cause. The struggle was the struggle of the Douglass family. The Douglass boys may have been able to play the background when necessary but they were front line liberation warriors, a responsibility they accepted.
Equally, the Douglass boys accepted the responsibility of putting their lives in the danger zone to serve their country. They accepted the responsibility to defend and kill in the name of their country. That is beyond question and speculation.
Who else served in the 54th? Who was Henry Augustus Monroe who enlisted at age 13 to serve as a front-line drummer boy? Monroe and his family were friends with Dr. Douglass and the Douglass family.
Do you think this history has ever been told?
To be continued …