Posts Tagged 1879
Brief note on Frederick (Bailey) Douglass & the Enoch Pratt Free Library; FBD knew Dr. Lewis Henry Steiner, founding Librarian of Enoch Pratt Free Library
As an adolescent Frederick Bailey ear hustled rudimentary academic instruction from the doorways at Wye House on the Eastern Shore to the alleyways of Fell’s Point in Baltimore City. As an adult he served on the boards of colleges and universities.
Having never attended a formal day of school in his life Dr. Douglass was regarded and respected by the most learned men and women of his era from college presidents to national legislators on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean before he was yet 30 years old.
Throughout his life Dr. Douglass aligned himself with radical Black Americans and radical European Americans who advocated for equal education, to use modern parlance. Anyone who openly supported and/or anyone who sought to aid in the education of Black Americans could count Dr. Douglass as an ally.
Part of the inspirational and aspirational story of the life of Dr. Douglass is his personal commitment to radical education across time and geography and institutions from Sunday schools to primary schools to the university to the modern American library.
Lost in the diabolical scandalmongering peddled by mythomanes is the street history of Dr. Douglass, a man of infinite real-world associations, connections and relationships. How the history and life work of Dr. Douglass connects to today has yet to be told more than a century after his passing due negligence, incompetence and state-sanctioned ignorance.
Dr. Douglass knew them all and they all knew Dr. Douglass.
In April 1879, in Frederick City, Maryland, United States Marshal Frederick (Bailey) Douglass lectured to benefit Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church on 3rd Street, where several of his close friends had previously pastored. Speaking within today’s Brewer’s Alley, Douglass shared the stage with local pastors as well as local educators.
Specifically, Marshal Douglass shared the stage in Frederick with Dr. Lewis Henry Steiner, a local to the area and advocate for equal education.
Upon its opening in 1886 Dr. Steiner was the lead librarian of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Dr. Steiner, as well as other leadership and administrative staff of Enoch Pratt, knew Dr. Douglass.
Before the central branch re-opened and before the public health crisis I was applying pressure to the administration of Enoch Pratt Free Library to see how much they knew, or rather did not know, about the connections of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to the library.
My correspondence with staff of the Enoch Pratt Free Library are all a matter of public record, as are the extant records of the library. I received a personal call after 8:00 PM one evening from a staff member thanking me for the continued pressure I was applying to the library leadership yet sharing that while the archival records I was seeking should exist they weren’t sure if they had them or where they may be. And that is how it be and why the history has been so utterly lost and mythologized by sustained public ignorance.
Frederick (Bailey) Douglass knew the founding leadership of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. He was active in supporting institutions in his native Baltimore until his passing. Upon its opening the Enoch Pratt Free Library was open to all. Dr. Douglass knew this and he knew those who made it so.
Do you think Frederick (Bailey) Douglass supported the Enoch Pratt Free Library? Of course he did.
Organizations within Frederick, the state and region who can aid in educating the public include Elizabeth Shatto with the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, John Fieseler with Visit Frederick, Drew Gruber with Civil War Trails, Frederick County Public Library, leadership of AARCH and others.
Lost History: Frederick Douglass in Queen Anne’s County (Sun., October 20, 2019 @ 1:30 PM, Centreville Branch of the Queen Anne’s County Library)
Join local history enthusiasts and community leaders for a debut presentation detailing the previously unknown history of Marshal Frederick Douglass visiting and speaking to more than 500 hundred people in Centreville, Maryland.
Arriving in Queenstown, Queen Anne’s County, by steamboat from Baltimore, the visit of Marshal Douglass to Centreville drew visitors from nearby Talbot, Caroline and Kent counties.
Learn more about the lost local history from internationally known Douglassonian John Muller, who has previously presented on the lost and unknown history of visits Douglass made to Cambridge in Dorchester County and Denton in Caroline County.
Q&A following the presentation.
Thank you, Hagerstown, Maryland for embracing the lost history of Frederick Douglass in your community. (pictures)
In preparation for two upcoming presentations in Hagerstown, Maryland about the lost history of Frederick Douglass visiting the “Hub City” in April 1879 I recently had the pleasure of offering a preview talk at Ebenezer AME Church at 26 Bethel Street and a preview walking tour.
Special thanks to Mr. Ron Lytle of the African-American Historical Association of Western Maryland, Pastor Donald Marbury of Ebenezer AME, Commissioner Reggie Turner of the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture, Rachel Nichols of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and the crew of the WDVM-TV for braving the elements. Additional thanks to Dan Spedden and his staff at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Looking forward to the upcoming television special and presentations Tuesday, February 12th at the Fletcher Branch Library in downtown Hagerstown at 7:00 PM and Saturday, February 16th at Ebenezer AME Church at 2:00 PM.
Society of the Army of Cumberland invites Frederick Douglass, Esquire to Local Executive Committee meeting at the Ebbitt House; a note on misleading “memory history” of the Civil War and Dr. Douglass
Following the Union Army’s defeat of the Confederate States Army the process of Reconstruction was led by many individuals and institutions. The interconnectedness and intersectionality of Dr. Douglass to these reconstructive efforts superabounds in existing documents, reports, memoirs, ephemera, newspaper accounts and lost histories.
Major Charles R. Douglass was active in the Grand Army of the Republic. His father, Dr. Frederick Douglass, while not a direct combat veteran was a recruiter for the Union and thusly welcomed into the fraternity of organizations which sought to promote the values of liberty and brotherhood in which hundreds of thousands had made the ultimate sacrifice for.
While speculative scholarship has proliferated in recent decades, under the troubling, incomplete and selective guise, or rather paradigm, of “memory history” promoted by popular American historians, there is an unavailability of scholarship on the organizations and networks in which Dr. Douglass ran.
Communities of journalists, politicians, educators, abolitionists, suffragists, preachers and artisans are all groups known to have close associations and connections with Dr. Frederick Douglass but their presence and relevance to the complete story has yet to be told. The folks that yammer about intersectionality have no clue what they are talking about. They have buzz-fuzz cliches and phrases not scholarship and research.
In post-Civil War Washington City generals and rank officers were legion. Union veterans Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur and Benjamin Harrison served as American Presidents and Dr. Douglass ran with them all. You scholars already know about General Oliver Otis Howard but who else is known?
Among veterans of both the Union and the Confederate States of America Dr. Douglass commanded respect. Few historians who invoke the name of Dr. Douglass convey this truth. Memory historians have failed to uplift the fallen history.
W Street Douglassonians are not wrong in expecting lauded historians to muster more than a pseudo-psycho speculative interpretation, or rather a “memory history,” of Dr. Douglass’ April 1876 Oration Delivered on the Occasion of the Unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument. A focus on this singular speech of Dr. Douglass again, and again and again is an incomplete history, a selective history, a convenient history, a lazy history and most importantly a misleading and dishonest history.
Until a new generation and a new collective of historians emerge to challenge the repetitive status quo of simp history half-truths and untruths will masquerade as truth.
Frederick Douglass Papers, Correspondence
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Lecture of United States Marshal Frederick Douglass announced in daily Hagerstown newspaper [April 1879]
Microfilm holdings; Washington County Library, Hagerstown Branch
Dr. Frederick Douglass was a Marylander; addresses Emancipation Day in Cumberland, Maryland [September 22, 1879]
An an indigenous Eastern Shoreman Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass could rightfully claim identity as a Baltimorean and thus kinship status as a Marylander through and through.
Lost to history have been several return visits Dr. Douglass made to the Shore as well as numerous lifelong relationships he maintained with Marylanders from members of the Lloyd family to abolitionist and educator Emily Edmonson of Montgomery County. Additionally, the speeches and activities of Dr. Douglass throughout the different regions and areas of his native state are widely forgotten in existing scholarship and bicentennial commemorations.
Untold by his own hand and biographers, in September 1879 Dr. Douglass visited the Cumberland Valley, drawing a reported 2,000 whites and blacks to the city of Cumberland from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Western Maryland.
Sharing the stage with former Congressman and Lincoln appointee Henry W. Hoffman, Dr. Douglass spoke to acknowledge September 22nd as Emancipation Day, whereas 17 years before President Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
In truth, Dr. Douglass ran with many men, such as Henry O. Wagoner and James W. C. Pennington, who traveled out of underground railroad stations in Western Maryland to freedom. Martin Delany, one of Douglass’ early associates, was indigenous to the Appalachia area.
In the 1880s Dr. Douglass frequently traveled to Harper’s Ferry to attend to his duties as a board member of Storer College.
Known to travel near and far within his home state and throughout the country and world, I’ve confirmed Dr. Douglass spoke in Hagerstown for the benefit of a local church in 1879, about six months before visiting Cumberland in September.
Point is: Dr. Douglass, an Eastern Shoreman by birth and Point Boy by initiation, touched all parts of his native state, including Allegheny and Washington counties in Western Maryland.
It is beyond time to uplift the history and give Dr. Douglass the full recognition he so rightfully deserves as a Marylander.
ANNIVERSARY OF EMANCIPATION.
Monday, 22d inst., emancipation day was celebrated in Cumberland with much rejoicing by the colored people, who poured into the city on every train. The procession formed at the Queen City Hotel about half past 12 and marched through the principal streets to the fair grounds where dinner was served and addresses delivered by Hons Frederick Douglass, of Washington, and Henry W. Hoffman, of Cumberland, and others.
Frostburg was fully represented.
Mining Journal, “Anniversary of Emancipation.” 27 September, 1879, p. 3
Editor’s Note (1):
Special thanks to reference library and archivist Elizabeth Howe of the Western Maryland Room of the Washington County Free Library for the research support.
Editor’s Note (2):
I have been invited to present on “Frederick Douglass in Western Maryland” at the October 1, 2018 meeting of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.
Due to a previous commitment I will be unable to present but have made arrangements for the information to be presented on behalf of W Street Douglassonians.
Monday, October 1, 2018 at 11:00 AM (Washington County)
Hagerstown Community College
111400 Robinwood Drive
Career Programs Building Rooms 211 & 213
Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass & Higher Education: University of Rochester Edition, Pt. 4 [Letter, June 1879, from Frederick Douglass thanking citizens and friends of Rochester, President of University of Rochester for installing marble bust in Sibley Hall]
When the University of Rochester unveiled the long anticipated marble bust of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass by local artist Johnson Mundy on its campus in June 1879 the man being celebrated was not in attendance.
To recognize the University of Rochester, President Anderson and his friends and associates in Rochester who had commissioned the work and organized the effort Douglass sent a timely letter to confidant Samuel Porter.
The below article and letter from Dr. Douglass was contemporaneously published by the Democrat and Chronicle and re-printed by fellow Rochester newspapers.
Additionally, Douglass thought the statue consequential and important enough to mention in Life and Times.
It will be remembered that a bust of Frederick Douglass was recently placed in Sibley Hall, of the University of Rochester. The ceremonies were quite informal – too informal, we think, as commemorating a deserved tribute from the people of Rochester to one who will always ranks as among her most distinguished citizen. Mr. Douglass himself was not notified officially of the event and therefore could in no public manner take notice of it. He was, however, informed privately of it, and responded most happily, as will be seen by the following letter which we are permitted to publish: –
Washington, D.C., June 25, 1879
My dear Sir, – I am extremely obliged to you for your kind and timely letter which came this morning, for it was a relief from a real cause of embarrassment.
When I first read of the formal unveiling and the presentation of my bust to the city of Rochester, the speeches made on the occasion by imminent gentlemen, – notably the remarks of Dr. Anderson, the honored President of Rochester University, an institution which has done so much to make the name of the city illustrious, – I felt an almost irrepressible impulse to do or say something out of the common way to some one of my old friends and fellow-citizens, which should express however crudely, something of the grateful sentiment stirred in my breast by this distinguished honor.
But as no one of the respected gentlemen active in the procurement of the testimonial said anything to me about it, and treated me as if I were out of the world, as all men should be when they are once reduced to marble, I began at last to think that silence on my part was perhaps the best way to the properties of the occasion.
Now, however, I am relieved. You have made it easy for me to speak to express my earnest acknowledgements to the committee of the gentlemen having this matter in charge and who have conducted it to completion.
Incidents of this character in my life do much amaze me. It is not, however, the height to which I have risen, but the depth from which I have come, that most amazes me.
It seems only a little while ago, when a child, I might have been fighting with old “Nep,” my mother’s dog, for a small share of the few crumbs that fell from the kitchen table; when I slept on the hearth, covering my feet from the cold with warm ashes and my head with a corn bag; only a little while ago, dragged to prison to be sold to the highest bidder, exposed for sale like a beast of burden; later on, put out to live with Covey, the negro breaker; beaten and almost broken in spirit, having little hope either for myself or my race; yet here I am alive and active, and with my race, enjoying citizenship in the freest and prospectively the most powerful nation on the globe.
In addition to this, you and your friends, while I am yet alive have thought it worth while to preserve my features in marble and to place them in your most honored institution of learning, to be viewed by present and future generations of men.
I know not, my friend, how to thank you, for this distinguished honor.
My attachment to Rochester, my home for more than a quarter of a century, will endure with my life.
Very gratefully and truly yours,
“FREDERICK DOUGLASS,” June 28, 1879, Democrat and Chronicle, p. 2
Available for $749.00 on Ebay here!
Marshal Frederick Douglass takes express train to Cumberland’s Queen City hotel; lectures for Emancipation celebration [Washington Post, Sept. 24, 1879 & Baltimore Sun, Sept. 23, 1879]
FRED DOUGLASS IN CUMBERLAND
He is Received by the Authorities and Delivers an Address
Special Dispatch to The Post.
Cumberland, MD., Sept. 23. – “Emancipation Day” was yesterday celebrated in this city in a very enthusiastic manner by the colored people, who flocked to the city in large numbers from the neighboring towns of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland. It was a gala day for the colored race.
About 2,000 visitors were in town, and the streets presented an animated appearance. The weather was cloudy but no rain fell, and everything went off pleasantly. About noon a procession was formed, which passed through the principal streets and wended its way to the Fair grounds, which are located in a commanding position to the east of the city. Several Masonic and other secret societies appeared in line. Marshal Douglass arrived on the express train from Washington at 2:10 P.M.
He was met at the Queen City hotel by an immense crowd of people, and escorted through the principal streets in a barouche, in which were seated Mayor William J. Read, Hon. Henry W. Hoffman, and Rev. B. H. Lee, the pastor of the A.M.E. Church in this city, who was also the president of the meeting. The procession arrived at the Fair grounds at 3 o’clock, escorted by a band of music. Among the vast assemblage present were Hons. George A Pearre, associate judge of this circuit, composed of Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties; Lloyd Lowndes, Wm. Walsh, R.D. Johnson, Esq., a prominent Democrat, A. Hunter Boyd, Esq., the State’s attorney of Allegany county, and a number of prominent citizens, including several ladies. The meeting was called to order by Rev. B.H. Lee, the chairman, who introduced Marshal Douglass. He spoke for two hours in a very eloquent manner.
Celebration of Emancipation Day at Cumberland.
[Special Dispatch to the Baltimore Sun.]
Cumberland, MD., Sept. 22. – The colored citizens of Cumberland celebrated the anniversary of emancipation to-day. The attendance from abroad was not so large as expected there being only about 250 colored strangers in the city. Those at home turned out well and showed great interest, many houses being decorated. There was a procession at 12 o’clock, in which were the Laboring Sons, Star Club, Union League Club, and Frederick Douglass club. There were also three wagons containing tableaus representing war, emancipation, trades, professions, and industrial and mechanical pursuits. The display was creditable. At 12:30 the visitors took dinner at the fair grounds. United States Marshal Fred Douglass arrived at 2:10 P.M., and was met at the depot by a large crowd of both races, the desire to see him being general. At 2:30 o’clock exercises were had at the fair grounds consisting of prayer by Rev. T. W. Harris and addresses by United States Marshal Douglass and Hon. W. W. Hoffman. The attendance at the fair grounds was good, and Mr. Douglass’s speech was listened to with great attention.