Running errands in the streets and hanging on the corners of Baltimore City an adolescent Frederick Bailey came up among the celtic Point Boys, Afro-Franco emigre pupils from Saint-Domingue and their Oblate Sisters of Providence instructors and a distinguished group of men, known as the Old Defenders for repelling the British from invading the harbor in the fall of 1814, given their own annual day of recognition and celebration.
During his days on and off the docks Frederick Bailey spent his time with Black veterans of the Revolutionary War and a select fraternity of Black Baltimoreans who had defended their city from foreign enemies.
It was firsthand from this respected and authoritative company he was entrusted with stories of Black American’s selfless service to the Star-Spangled Banner from those who had seen, heard and survived bombs bursting in the air and ground-fire of musket balls whistling in the streets.
Frederick Bailey not only heard of the nobility of Charles Ball, George Roberts and William Williams and other patriots; these patriots knew the confident precocious chatterbox of a young man and the young man from the Tuckahoe knew them in return.
Influenced by these patriots, intimately knowing their sacrifice to the founding and defence of the nascent nation, as an elder in his 70s Frederick Douglass advocated for “pensions for ex-slaves.”
To think Douglass was not in close touch and friendship with the community of children, grand-children and great-grandchildren of these aforementioned Black American patriots, and those who were denied a pension for their military service, is scholastically thoughtless.
Popular public history would have you believe the only benevolence and charity that ever came to Frederick Bailey came from white folk.
They don’t want you to know Frederick (Bailey) Washington was raised around Black American patriots of the Continental Army and the Old Defenders of Baltimore.
We know. Street history abides.