Archive for April 15th, 2019

“When Frederick Douglass Came To Town,”by Cassie Conklin of The Bottom Line [ April 14, 2019] (independent student news organization of Frostburg State University since 1948)

Image may contain: 1 personOn Tuesday, April 9, 2019, the FSU’s Department of Sociology, Department of Geography and African American Studies Program hosted a presentation by John Muller. Muller, a self-described “street historian,” has authored two books, “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia” and “Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent” and is working on “Lost History: Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in Baltimore City, 1825–1895.”

His lecture described visits made by Frederick Douglass, the famous escaped slave, orator, and intellectual, to Frostburg and Cumberland, Md. in the 1800’s. Muller also discussed friends and political acquaintances of Douglass’ from Western Maryland. One such associate, Lloyd Lowndes of Cumberland, later became governor of Maryland from 1896 to 1900 and was honored on FSU’s campus with the naming of Lowndes Hall.

Born in 1818 in Talbot County, Md., Frederick Douglass escaped slavery in 183[8]. He became famous in 1845 with the publication of his memoir, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” The autobiography is considered one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the 19th century in the United States. In his lifetime, Douglass became the first African American nominated for the Vice President of the United States on the Equal Rights Party ticket.

Muller’s presentation focused on the later years of Douglass’ life. In September 1879, Douglass traveled by train from Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Md. to give his “Self-Made Man” speech. This was not Douglass’ first contact in Allegany County, though, as he had written Letters to the Editor published in the Cumberland News in 1874. Nonetheless, the visit was an occasion shared by a mixed race audience. During his remarks, Douglass said, “I remember when it was not thought safe for me to have appeared among the mountains of Maryland.” The Frostburg Mining Journal covered the story saying, “Frostburg was fully represented.”

Douglass’ second visit to Allegany County was in March 1882 in support of the local African Methodist Episcopal Church in Frostburg. His second visit created less fanfare but was an intimate experience for attendees. The Frostburg Mining Journal wrote later that the lecture was given to a “small but intelligent audience…it was one of the best ever delivered in this town.”

Muller took questions from the over one hundred students, faculty, and staff present for his lecture. Many asked about the controversial nature of the relationship between Frederick Douglass and white women suffragettes. Muller impressively described the relationship between Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, both of which had critiques about the 15th amendment that allowed for the voting rights of African-American men. Muller was careful in his answers saying, “Frederick Douglass took incremental steps to advocate for women’s voting rights whenever possible.”


When Frederick Douglass Came To Town,” April 14, 2019. Cassie Conklin. The Bottom Line. 

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Congratulations to “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia” cited 8 times in 2019 Pulitzer Prize Winner in History

William Alston-El - Frederick Douglass wheat paste on lower MLK

The late Honorable William Alston-El is featured in Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia, cited 8 times by 2019 Pulitzer Prize Winner in History. 

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For a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, by David W. Blight (Simon & Schuster)

WINNING WORK


 

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

By David W. Blight

The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.

Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, often to large crowds, using his own story to condemn slavery. He broke with Garrison to become a political abolitionist, a Republican, and eventually a Lincoln supporter. By the Civil War and during Reconstruction, Douglass became the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. He denounced the premature end of Reconstruction and the emerging Jim Crow era. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. He sometimes argued politically with younger African Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican Party or the cause of black civil and political rights.

In this remarkable biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.

— from the publisher


FINALISTS

Nominated as finalists in History in 2019:

Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition, by W. Fitzhugh Brundage (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, by Victoria Johnson (Liveright/W.W. Norton)

Annette Gordon-Reed* (Chair)

Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History; Professor of History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Tiya Miles

Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor, Harvard University

Marcus Rediker

Distinguished Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh

 

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