Archive for March, 2019

Artists wanted to create Frederick Douglass memorial in New Bedford (deadline May 31, 2019, sponsored by New Bedford Historical Society)

Before the Frederick Douglass statue at One Judiciary Square moves to the US Capitol he takes time to read a new book about his life and times in Anacostia. Photo_ John MullerNEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Historical Society and the Frederick Douglass Memorial Committee are calling on artists, artisans or artist-lead-teams to create a permanent original artwork of a young Frederick Douglass.

The sculpture will celebrate Douglass through the creation of a timeless and permanent art sculpture of high artistic merit and quality. It is in New Bedford that a young Douglass found his voice as an abolitionist and human rights advocate. The sculpture will be placed in Abolition Row Park that will also celebrate the New Bedford abolitionists who through their advocacy and perseverance changed the thinking of many and led to the movement to end slavery in the United States, according to a news release.

The park will be completed in summer 2020, and the Douglass sculpture will be a center piece in Abolition Row Park. The committee is seeking a bronze representative image of a young Douglass sitting on a park bench that will face the Nathan and Mary Johnson House, 21 Seventh St.

Interested artists should submit eight slides or photos of successful examples of completed public art, a resume, and an artist statement by May 31. Once qualifications are reviewed, semi-finalists will be invited and offered a stipend to submit full project proposals for a sculpture design.

Artist Eligibility

The project is open to all professional artists or artist teams in the United States. Artists/artist teams should have experience implementing their ideas and work in the public realm with community organizations and government agencies. Artist/artist teams must be able to effectively work within the project timeline and collaborate with the architects of record, general contractors, multiple governmental agencies, community groups, city officials and the Douglass Memorial Committee whenever it is required. Artists are NOT eligible who are immediate family or business partners of members of the Douglass Memorial Committee, city staff or program administrators.

Selection Process

The Douglass Memorial Committee will manage the application process and review the proposals. The committee includes arts professionals, community representatives, and city staff. The committee will review the submissions and invite a short list of up to five semi-finalists to be interviewed.

Each semi-finalist will be awarded a $1,500 stipend for development of a proposal, travel and overnight accommodations for presentation to the Memorial Committee. The committee will make a recommendation based on its evaluation of the artwork proposal, experience of artist and references. The Memorial Committee and the New Bedford Historical Society will make the final award to the selected artist. The committee reserves the right to withhold the commission award if it should not find a satisfactory artwork.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

    1. Artistic merit of concept.
    1. Sculpture will be representative of a young Douglass sitting on a park bench. The style and appropriateness of the artwork should demonstrate that it is compatible in relationship to the landscape and New Bedford community.
    1. Technical Considerations and Feasibility: Including the artist’s artistic history and experience in completing public art projects within the timeline and budget, as well as the sustainability of the project.
    1. Safety and Maintenance: Artwork should be durable, meet the requirements of insurance policies and be resistant to theft and/or vandalism. Materials should require minimal periodic maintenance and be readily available if conservation or restoration is necessary.
    1. Diversity: Reflects the overall project goal to strive for diversity in style, scale, media and artists working in traditional and contemporary art forms.

All items become the property of the New Bedford Historical Society.

For all questions and additional information, email Lee Blake, President,

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Note on Rev. Dr. Pharaoh Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey Douglass among contemporary men of God -> “The Late Bishop Payne. A Monument in His Honor Unveiled at Baltimore.” (May 1894)

Bishop Alexander Walker Wayman and Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne, both of whom were buried in Laurel Cemetery. Coming up out an African Methodist church erected in a Fell’s Point alley following American Independence Pharaoh Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey Douglass emerged within ranks of the most consequential religious leaders of America’s antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

Among the most respected of America’s African-American reverends and educators who travelled the world establishing outposts of the church and their compensatory schools Pharaoh Douglass was always offered opportunity to teach Sunday school and Bible study, a tradition he maintained from his days in St. Michaels in the 1830s until his last day on earth.

Throughout his life Rev. Dr. Pharoah Douglass ran and prayed from country camp revivals to town and city street corners to the lecture stages and halls of universities among white and black faith leaders within circles of African Methodists, Methodist Episcopalians, Baptists, Protestants, Congregationalists, Unitarian Universalists, Quakers, Hebrews and Mohammedans.

Rev. Dr. Pharoah Douglass aided men of God building institutions that maintain today as men of God enlisted the aid of Rev. Dr. Pharoah Douglass building, developing, and guarding institutions furthering faith and education.

Along with the early founders of Howard University, in which Dr. Rev. Pharaoh Douglass served as a board member from 1871 until his death, men of God who aided in founding Morgan State University in Baltimore City and American University in Washington, D.C. ran with Rev. Dr. Pharoah Douglass.

In May 1894 Bishop John Fletcher Hurst and Reverend Lyttleton Morgan joined arms in brotherly remembrance and honor with Dr. Douglass, Bishop Alexander Wayman, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, Rev. Dr. John W. E. Bowen and other men of God to remember the late Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne.

Despite numerous accolades and laudatory reviews, David Blight’s deeply flawed Prophet of Freedom fails to place Douglass within this vast network of men of God.

Therefore Blight’s singular reference to Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne in Prophet of Freedom is blasphemous.

Evening Star _ 22 May 1894. p 9 - Payne Monument in Baltimore_ cropTHE LATE BISHOP PAYNE.

A Monument in His Honor Unveiled at Baltimore.

The monument to the memory of the late Bishop Daniel A. Payne, D. D., LL. D., who was the senior bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was unveiled yesterday afternoon at Laurel Cemetery, in the northeastern suburbs of Baltimore, in the presence of a large number of colored people.

The exercises included addresses by Rev. Dr. J. H. A. Johnson of Ellicott City, Frederick Douglass and Rev. Dr. W. B. Derrick of New York, and prayer by Rev. Dr. L. F. Morgan, prior to the unveiling by Bishop H. M. Turner, D. D., of Georgia.

Rev. John Hurt read the names of the contributors to the monument fund and Rev. J. G. Morris, D. D., closed the services by pronouncing the benediction. On the stand, besides the above, were Bishop W. J. Gaines, D. D., Bishop J. A. Hunter of Kansas, Bishop M. B. Salters of South Carolina, Bishop A. W. Wayman, Rev. J. M. Bowen and others.


Evening Star, 22 May, 1894, p. 9.

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“Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Western Maryland” @ Newcomer House -> Sat., April 27, 2019 @ 11:30 AM & 2:00 PM

The wood, three-bay wide historic Newcomer House surrounded by a white fence.Frederick Douglass rose from the depths of slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to travel three continents and counsel a half-dozen Presidents.

You may think you know his story but did you know he visited Hagerstown?!

In 1879 Douglass took a train to “Hub City” where he delivered an address to benefit Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Future United States Congressman and United States Senator, Hagerstonian Louis E. McComas introduced Douglass before he spoke at the courthouse on Washington Street. Hear historian and author John Muller share never before published details of Dr. Frederick Douglass’ visit to Hagerstown walking the community and lodging in the historic Washington House.

Each presentation will be a half-hour history discussion.



18422 Shepherdstown Pike
Keedysville, MD 21756.

The Newcomer House is located approximately ½ mile east of Sharpsburg along Maryland Route 34 (Shepherdstown Pike) on the western edge of the Antietam Creek.


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Maryland Commission on African American History & Culture -> Public Meeting, Mon., April 1, 2019 @ 11 AM (Morgan State University)

Larry Hogan

Lt. Governor
Boyd K. Rutherford

Maryland Commission on African American History & Culture

Dale Glenwood Green

Vice Chair
Tamara England Wilson

Chanel Compton

Notice of Annual Meeting

Morgan State University
Murphy Fine Arts Center
Recital Hall
2201 Argonne Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21251

Monday, April 1, 2019
11 a.m.


Please contact us by
phone (410) 216-6181 or by

The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) is committed to discovering, documenting, preserving, collecting, and promoting Maryland’s African American heritage. The Commission also provides technical assistance to institutions and groups with similar objectives. Through the accomplishment of this mission, the MCAAHC seeks to educate Maryland citizens and its visitors about the significance and impact of the African American experience in Maryland. The MCAAHC is a unit of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.

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Maryland Commission on African American History & Culture

C/O Banneker-Douglass Museum
84 Franklin Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

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“Lost History: Frederick Douglass in Western Maryland” [Frostburg State University – April 9, 2019 @ 6PM]

Frostburg State UniversityLost History: Frederick Douglass in Western Maryland

TUESDAY, April 9, 2019 – 6:00 PM

 ** Frostburg State University **
CCIT Building, Room 317

Dr. Frederick Douglass may have self-identified as an Eastern Shore man but on more than one occasion he spoke in the mountains of Western Maryland.

While in 1879 Douglass spoke in Frederick City (early April), Hagerstown (late April) and in Cumberland on September 22 for Emancipation Day festivities, in March 1882 Douglass made an independent visit to lecture in Frostburg, Maryland. Originally founded as Normal School No. 2, Frostburg State University was not initially funded and opened to its first class for nearly two decades.

Author and street historian John Muller will detail the visits of Dr. Douglass to Cumberland and Frostburg, as well as share insights into his relationship with Cumberland-based Governor Lloyd Lowndes.

Douglass often lectured at courthouses, as he did in Hagerstown, local city halls, as he did in Frederick City, and outdoor venues such as the fairgrounds in Cumberland. He also often lectured at well-known public halls, including opera houses, as he did in Frostburg.

Join local history enthusiasts and community leaders for a debut presentation detailing a previously unknown high-profile visit Dr. Douglass made to Cumberland, Maryland, arriving by train, escorted through town by a large procession and speaking at the old fairgrounds in company of local AME pastors, politicians and community leaders.

Following the presentation will be a Q&A.

Featured Presenter

John Muller is the author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C: The Lion of Anacostia (2012) and Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent (2013) and is currently at work on Lost History: Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in Baltimore City, 1825 – 1895. Muller has presented at the Library of Congress, American Library of Paris, Politics and Prose, Newseum and other venues. He has been featured on C-SPAN, WAMU, WYPR, WDVM and other local and national media outlets

In the past year Muller has presented a series of lost history lectures in Cambridge, Maryland at the Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center, Hagerstown at the Washington County Central Library and Ebenezer AME Church, Denton at the Caroline County Public Library and in Baltimore City at the Enoch Pratt Central Library.

Invited Elected Officials, Community Leaders and Organizations

Invitations have been extended to Cumberland Mayor Raymond Morris and members of the Cumberland City Council, Frostburg Mayor W. Robert Flanigan and members of the Frostburg City Council, Allegany County Commissioners, members of the Maryland House of Delegates and Maryland Senate representing Western Maryland, the office of United States Representative David Trone, United States Senators Benjamin Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Allegany County Historical Society, Allegany Museum, Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, Allegany County Public Library, Allegany County Chapter of the NAACP, Metropolitan AME Church of Cumberland, African-American Historical Association of Western Maryland, Frostburg State University Black Student Alliance, Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture, Maryland Historical Society, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, University of Maryland-College Park, W Street Douglassonians, members of the Douglass and Bailey Family and others.

Frostburg State University  

 The lecture is open to the public and being presented with the support and partnership of the Department of Sociology, Department of Geography and Department of African-American Studies. The lecture will be in the Catherine R. Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology Building, Room 317.

For directions visit

For more information on Frostburg State University visit or call 301-687-7589.


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By: Lolita Buckner Inniss

Forthcoming Publication: September 2019

I never got no free papers. Princeton College bought me; Princeton College owns me; and Princeton College has got to give me my living.

The Princeton Fugitive SlaveJames Collins Johnson made his name by escaping slavery in Maryland and fleeing to Princeton, where he built a life in a bustling community of African Americans working at what is now Princeton University. After only four years, he was recognized by a student from Maryland, arrested, and subjected to a trial for extradition under the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. On the eve of his rendition, after attempts to free Johnson by force had failed, a local aristocratic white woman purchased Johnson’s freedom, allowing him to avoid re-enslavement. The Princeton Fugitive Slave reconstructs James Collins Johnson’s life, from birth and enslaved life in Maryland to his daring escape, sensational trial for re-enslavement, and last-minute change of fortune, and through to the end of his life in Princeton, where he remained a figure of local fascination.

Stories of Johnson’s life in Princeton often describe him as a contented, jovial soul, beloved on campus and memorialized on his gravestone as “the Students Friend.” But these familiar accounts come from student writings and sentimental recollections in alumni reports—stories from elite, predominantly white, often southern sources whose relationships with Johnson were hopelessly distorted by differences in race and social standing. In interrogating these stories against archival records, newspaper accounts, courtroom narratives, photographs, and family histories, author Lolita Buckner Inniss builds a picture of Johnson on his own terms, piecing together the sparse evidence and disaggregating him from the other black vendors with whom he was sometimes confused.

By telling Johnson’s story and examining the relationship between antebellum Princeton’s black residents and the economic engine that supported their community, the book questions the distinction between employment and servitude that shrinks and threatens to disappear when an individual’s freedom is circumscribed by immobility, lack of opportunity, and contingency on local interpretations of a hotly contested body of law.

Lolita Buckner Inniss, J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., is a professor at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, where she is a Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow. Her research addresses historic, geographic, metaphoric, and visual norms of law, especially in the context of race, gender, and comparative constitutionalism.

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Death Notice for Capt. Aaron Anthony (November 1826)

Easton Gazette 11-1826-page-011.jpg

Research files of W Street Douglassonians. Not to be used by other researchers without permission or their independent research. 


Easton Gazette, Saturday evening, 18 November, 1826.

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“Lost History: Frederick Douglass in Montgomery County” (Wednesday, April 24, 2019 @ 7:00 pm -> Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park)

Image result for frederick douglass emily edmonsonHave you heard stories of Frederick Douglass stepping through the country roads of Brinklow and Sandy Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland?

According to oral tradition Dr. Douglass, an internationally known abolitionist, statesman, orator and journalist, was known to visit multiple families in the Montgomery County area.

Emily Edmonson Johnson, born an enslaved person in Montgomery County and an escapee of the Pearl in 1848, was photographed with Frederick Douglass and other abolitionist at a convention in New York to protest the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law.

Following her education at Oberlin in Ohio and serving as a teacher at the Miner School in Washington, D.C., Edmonson married Larkin Johnson in the early 1860s and lived in the greater Sandy Spring community for nearly a decade.

She later moved to Hillsdale in Southeast Washington, D.C., adjacent to the Anacostia neighborhood, where her long-time friend Frederick Douglass lived. Today Cedar Hill is preserved as the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site at 1411 W Street SE.

Find out more about Frederick Douglass and his connections from Sharp Street Methodist Church in Sandy Spring to state politics in post-Civil War Maryland and unknown visits to communities from Cumberland to Cambridge.

Register Here!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
16501 Norwood Road
Sandy Spring, Maryland 20860


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“Hon. Fred. Douglass” in Frostburg, Maryland, March 1882 (advertisement & brief notes)

Frostburg Mining Journal _ March 18, 1882, p. 2 _ FD ad

Frostburg Mining Journal, 18 March 1882. (Library of Congress)

Dr. Douglass may have self-identified as an Eastern Shoreman but on more than one occasion he spoke in the mountains of Western Maryland.

While in 1879 Douglass spoke in Frederick City (early April), Hagerstown (late April) and in Cumberland on September 22 for Emancipation Day festivities, in March 1882 Douglass made an independent visit to lecture in Frostburg, Maryland.

As surely many know, what is today Frostburg State University, originally founded as Normal School No. 2, was not initially funded and opened until nearly two decades later.

Introductory conversations I’ve had with local historians have been circumspect of Governor Lowndes, which I will seek to confirm or refute. What is beyond speculation is the correspondence and associations between Lowndes and Douglass span more than two decades.

From preliminary research it appears there was a local municipal election in Frostburg at the time of Dr. Douglass’ visit but I can’t confirm that he took a position.

On the extant contemporaneous buildings of Frostburg, around the same time as the pending visit of Douglass to the area, the local city council in Frostburg received a petition by the local A.M.E. church for a street lamp on its corner. The appropriation was approved.

Douglass often lectured at courthouses, as he did in Hagerstown, local city halls, as he did in Frederick City, and outdoor venues such as the fairgrounds in Cumberland. He also often lectured at well known public halls, including opera houses, as he did in Frostburg.

Legendary Western Maryland historian Al Feldstein was kind enough to pass along a postcard of the Odd Fellows Opera House that reportedly burned down in the early 1900s.

I will be presenting at Frostburg State University on “The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Western Maryland,” with an emphasis on the localities of Cumberland and Frostburg next month.

Hopefully the history will be received warmly and there will be an opportunity to present at the Appalachian Festival, when “Lost History: Frederick Douglass in Western Maryland,” develops into the book format it deserves.


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Smithsonian Associates walking tours of Old Anacostia sold out, new tour dates available in March & April via eventbrite

John Muller _ walking tour (3)Thank you to all who have reserved advance tickets for the Smithsonian Associates offering of the neighborhood walking tour. It is currently sold out.

According to their website, please call (202) 633-3030 to be placed on a waiting list for future tours that may become available.

By request and due outstanding demand new dates have been added in March and April. We look forward to seeing you as the weather warms and thank you for your continued support in uplifting the local history and importance of Frederick Douglass as an active and leading member of Old Anacostia.

–*March 17 @ 9:30 AM –*

–*April 13 @ 3:00 PM –*

–*April 28 @ 11:45 AM –*

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