Archive for November, 2021

Cumberland Times-News: “Historians to chronicle Douglass’ travels: Surprising connections between noted abolitionist and West Virginia” (November 26, 2021) by Lindsay Renner-Wood

CUMBERLAND TIMES-NEWS, front page Friday, November 26, 2021

to read the original story please visit Cumberland Times-News

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Presentation: “The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in the Mountain State” (December 1, 2021 @ WVU Potomac State College, 5:00 – 7:00 pm)

		The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in the Mountain State image

Internationally known, in life and afterlife, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as an author, orator, abolitionist, suffragist and American reformist, the history and placement of Frederick Douglass in the growing academic field of Appalachian Studies has not been considered and recognized until now.

Following the Civil War, Frederick Douglass made more than a half-dozen visits across West Virginia from the Eastern Panhandle to the Northern Panhandle to the Kanawha River Valley, including speaking in the communities of Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County; Martinsburg in Berkeley County; Wheeling in Ohio County; and Parkersburg in Wood County. During these travels throughout the Mountain State, Douglass was hosted by and spoke alongside newspaper publishers and editors, politicians who led the way to legislatively creating West Virginia and leaders within local Black communities from journalists to college faculty to clergy.

Learn about the lost history of Frederick Douglass as a trustee of Storer College, West Virginia’s first Historically Black College & University, traveler on local railroads, keynote speaker at emancipation celebrations and as an associate of notable West Virginians Governor Arthur Boreman, J. R. Clifford (West Virginia’s first Black attorney), Archibald W. Campbell (a leader in West Virginia’s statehood) and others at this groundbreaking presentation by Douglassonian scholars John Muller and Justin McNeil of Lost History Associates from Washington, D.C., just down the Potomac River.

“The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in the Mountain State” will be publicly presented for the first time at WVU Potomac State College. The evening’s talk, followed by a Q&A, will include maps, prints, letters, newspapers, photographs and more to provide a visual telling of the expansive history of Frederick Douglass in West Virginia and his connections to the mountain state.

*Featured Presenters*

John Muller, 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), has presented widely throughout the DC-Baltimore metropolitan area at venues including the Library of Congress, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Newseum, American Library in Paris, Enoch Pratt Library, DC Public Library, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and local universities. Muller is a frequent guest on Washington, D.C. radio stations and has been cited by the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, Cumberland Times-News and other publications for his local history research and subject matter expertise. He has been featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV and C-SPAN’s American History TV, broadcast airwaves of NBC4 (Washington), WDVM (Hagerstown) and radio stations WPFW (DC), WAMU (DC), WYPR (Baltimore), WEAA (Baltimore) and Delmarva Public Radio (Eastern Shore). For the past decade Muller has contributed hundreds of articles to local and national print and online news sources, including the Washington Informer. In 2019 Muller presented on the history of Frederick Douglass throughout Western Maryland, including the Washington County Free Library and Frostburg State University.

Justin McNeil, an IT professional who has serviced government agencies, nonprofits, corporations, financial and banking institutions and small-businesses within the DC-Baltimore metropolitan area, Western Maryland and Potomac Highlands for the last decade, is a doting husband and father of 3, ADOS historian, essayist and playwright. McNeil has been featured in the pages of the Washington Post, contributed columns to the Washington Informer and been interviewed on News Channel 8 (Washington, D.C.), WBAL (Baltimore) and WPFW (Washington), WEAA (Baltimore) and ABC 47 (Maryland’s Eastern Shore). McNeil attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Muller and McNeil are co-founders of Lost History Associates and are at work on forthcoming publications on Frederick Douglass in several specific regions in the Mid-Atlantic area.

For more information on Lost History Associates, visit:

Potomac State College is a public college in Keyser, W.Va. and is part of the West Virginia University system, offering associate and bachelor’s degrees. It is located approximately 90 miles east of the University’s main campus in Morgantown, W.Va.

Professor Caitlin Hudgins, Ph.D. is an English instructor and serves as director of the Writing Center at Potomac State. Her American Literature class is currently reading the autobiographical writings of Frederick Douglass.

For more information about WVU Potomac State College, visit

Directions to Potomac State College can be found at the following link:

Once on campus, there will be a parking lot immediately to the left. The Davis Conference Center is the first building on the right. There is also parking along campus drive on the right.


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Call for 2021 Frederick Douglass Oratorical Contest announced _ flyer, details & video of past participant


Annually, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site hosts a live oratorical contest at the site where students perform a part of a Frederick Douglass speech that they learn from memory from the stage in the park’s auditorium. This year since younger students have not been able to be vaccinated, we will host the contest online over a format such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

The contest will be held January 11-14, 2022 and there will be morning and afternoon sessions.

The Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association and the Frederick Douglass Housing Corporation generously donate contest prizes each year (prizes TBD). Winners also receive plaques and will have the opportunity to perform at the Douglass Birthday Celebration on February 12, and/or to have their performance recorded so the video can be part of programs the park is offering for Women’s History Month, Decoration Day (now Memorial Day), and Black History Month in Ireland (October).

Click here to view guidelines for the 2021 Oratorical Contest


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Video: Fred Morsel as Frederick Douglass at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Editor’s Note:

Several years ago your editor had the opportunity to meet Mr. Fred Morsell via Mr. Frank Faragasso. This is not the first time we’ve featured Mr. Morsell’s presentation of Frederick Douglass. We wish Mr. Morsell the very best.

For information on upcoming walking tours of Frederick Douglass in Harpers Ferry -> HERE!~

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