VIDEO: Dr. Ira Berlin on Frederick Douglass’ early years in Fell’s Point, Nov. 9, 2017


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Save the Date: The Lincoln-Douglas(s) Debates: Known and Unknown @ National Archives – February 22, 2018

Image result for lincoln frederick douglassYears ago a good friend shared a story …

As part of a program for local history teachers he attended a class at a local public university. During the course the teacher arrived at the Lincoln-Douglas(s) Debates and began retelling one of the seminal campaign moments of antebellum American. Something struck my friend as odd; the teacher was referring to Frederick Douglass and not incumbent Illinois Senator Stephen “Little Giant” Douglass as being former one-term Congressman Abe Lincoln’s combatant. My friend rose his hand and kindly suggested the correction to which he was strongly rebuked. It’s a story which many may not find funny but it has stuck with me these many years later.

Just in time for the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial, the National Archives and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia have partnered to offer an innovative program that looks at an alternative history, or one that a local university professor already knew.


William G. McGowan Theater 
Washington, DC

Thursday, February 22, 2018 – 7:00pm to 8:00pm  / Reserve a Seat

Join us for an unusual and lively performance featuring Abraham Lincoln (portrayed by George Buss) and political opponent Stephen A. Douglas (portrayed by Tim Connors) as they look back to their famous debates over slavery and equality in the 1858 U.S. Senate campaign in Illinois. Following the first debate, we will present the “Unknown Lincoln-Douglass,” an “imagining” of a debate between Lincoln (as portrayed by Buss) and Frederick Douglass (portrayed by Phil Darius Wallace).

This is the Lincoln-Douglass debate that never happened—using words from their actual correspondence and commentary.  Historian Harold Holzer will moderate and bring Lincoln and Douglass face-to-face for an unprecedented confrontation.

Presented in partnership with the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia with support from the Illinois State Society and the Lincoln Forum, in commemoration of the bicentennials of Illinois statehood and the birth of Frederick Douglass.

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted.

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Photo Archive: Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall on Howard University Campus



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Photo Archives: Mr. Donald E. Scoggins w/ members of FDMHA & HUD Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris

Don_with FDMHA and Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris

Mr. Donald E. Scoggins with members of FDMHA and HUD Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris. Courtesy of FDMHA.

As an outgrowth of the Frederick Douglass Community Conference held earlier this month we’ve made connection with Mr. Donald Scoggins, a former resident of W Street SE and active member of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association.

At the community conference Mr. Scoggins shared details of how the 6th HUD Secretary, Patrica Roberts Harris, was able to assist the Frederick Memorial and Historical Association, chartered by Congress in 1900, re-acquire ownership of land that Frederick Douglass purchased behind his Cedar Hill Estate. In coming weeks we plan to have more about this little known chapter in the modern history of Frederick Douglass’ home.

We share this photo with his permission and blessing. Mr. Scoggins shared the circumstances of the photograph:

It was held just days of her confirmation when she announced selling to the Association for $1.00.00 with 100% Section 8 rental subsidies tied to the 152 unit garden apartment complex formerly known as Cedar Gardens. It had been acquired several years earlier by the federal government through foreclosure.

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Theodore Tilton: Called Frederick Douglass Brother on the streets of Paris


Photo John Muller. 

As the Bicentennial ambles into formation we will begin bringing attention to the intellectual variety and vagaries of life and experience that form the composite Frederick Douglass.

In this space we’ve previously documented Douglass’ time in Paris.

And we kindly share some more previously unknown and heretofore unpublished documentation of Douglass’ 1886 – 1887 European excursion and sojourn. On previous visits to Europe Douglass stayed within the holdings of the British Crown.

While in Paris he made the acquaintance and re-acquaintance of many Americans, including the noted journalist and editor Theodore Tilton. Standing at well above 6 feet tall, Tilton and Douglass, who is thought to have been on the north side of 6 feet tall, must have towered over most of the men they passed as they promenaded.

Theodore Tilton c1870.jpgWhen Tilton passed in 1907 his friendship and time with Douglass in Paris was noted, in the light and humorous retelling of a touching story.

Called Douglass’ Brother.

“In the maturity of life, with a fuller habit than in youth and with heavy, snow-white hair, Tilton presented a striking figure. When he appeared on the street he was sure to attract attention and excite remark. People who did not know him turned to look after him when he had passed, and asked who he was.

“One day he was walking down the Champs Elysees, in Paris, with Fred Douglass. They were about the same size and Douglass’ white, kinky hair also fell from his head in waves. The two men made a notable pair. In the midst of their walk Tilton was stopped by a gentleman who, with an apology, and true Gallic politeness, begged leave to ask if the other gentlemen was his brother.

Tilton’s heart was warm toward Douglass, and he would have been proud to confess such relationship, but it had to be denied.

An American could not have made the Frenchman’s mistake.”


The Washington Herald, 26 May, 1907

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Rochester Oratorio Society presents FREDERICK DOUGLASS AT 200, February 16, 2018 @ Hochstein Performance Hall

Image may contain: one or more people, tree and outdoorThe Rochester Oratorio Society mounts a Bicentennial commemoration of the life of Frederick Douglass through readings, re-enactment and music, in FREDERICK DOUGLASS AT 200 to be held Friday, February 16, 2018, 7:30 P.M. in the Hochstein Performance Hall at 50 Plymouth Avenue North in Rochester.

Catherine Cerulli, Executive Director of the University of Rochester Susan B. Anthony Center, and Rochester Historical Society historian Dan Cody will collaborate in a pre-concert chat and exhibit beginning at 7:00 P.M.

Renowned Douglass re-enactor and Nazareth College faculty member, Dr. David Anderson, offers renditions of some of Douglass’s most revered writings between sections from American composer Kirke Mechem’s settings entitled Songs of the Slave, from his opera, John Brown. Students from Rochester Public School #12, who memorize Douglass passages yearly, will recite them for the ROS audience.

Tickets ($25, $10 student with ID) / (585) 473-2234 / or online.

This project is sponsored by a Humanities New York Action Grant.

Editor Note:

Recent article about Rochester’s Bicentennial efforts, in terms of receiving programmatic grants.


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“Bent But Not Broken” exhibit opens at Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis, February 13, 2018

Image result for banneker douglass museumBent But Not Broken – A Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Celebration Event

Maryland artist Ulysses Marshall captures Frederick Douglass’ spirit through his highly expressive mixed media compositions – his colorful and poetic collages delivered with blunt sincerity. Marshall’s work talks of the glory, the pain, and the hope in Douglass’ life and in the African-American experience.

Special Opening Reception: Saturday, February 17, 2018 3 pm – 5 pm

Exhibit brought to you by the Banneker-Douglass Museum

As the State of Maryland’s official museum of African American heritage, the Banneker-Douglass Museum serves to document, to interpret, and to promote African American history and culture (particularly in Maryland) through exhibitions, programs, and projects in order to improve the understanding and appreciating of America’s rich cultural diversity for all. The Banneker-Douglass Museum is a component of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, which is a unit of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives — an executive-department agency, whose mandate to coordinate outreach efforts to communities, organizations, and local governments across Maryland serves as a unifying principle for all its departments.


Banneker-Douglass Museum

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