Posts Tagged 1880
Brief Note on Frederick Douglass & Lynching pertaining to the Maryland Lynching Truth & Reconciliation Commission, Maryland Lynching Memorial Project and the Equal Justice Initiative (Feb 11, 2020)
As the state of Maryland continues the work of its Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission with plans for its first formal public hearings underway we must insist a recognition and discussion of “Frederick Douglass and Lynching” is part of the ecosystem.
Foremost, “The Lessons of the Hour” (1894) was the last major pamphlet of Dr. Douglass during his half-century public career. Throughout the 1890s Douglass advocated within local communities and at the highest levels of the government for anti-lynching laws and prosecution of extra-judicial killings. In concert with Maryland activists Douglass pressed this issue and claims.
Secondly, while serving as Marshal of the District of Columbia, Frederick Douglass played a significant role in averting a lynch mob in Washington City in February 1880.
Earlier that month Douglass spoke in Salisbury in Wicomico County on the Lower Eastern Shore.
In 1931 Matthew Williams was murdered by a lynch mob in that same space. Two years later Maryland would suffer its last murder by lynch mob with George Armwood’s death in Princess Anne in 1933.
It has been our experience in the past year or so surveying meetings of the existing Maryland Lynching Truth & Reconciliation Commission, as well the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, that Douglass and the issue of lynching is not a thought, afterthought nor warranting a mention.
Organizations and folks who are either raising funds off this history and/or who are supported with funds from the public treasury and/or who are on the public time clock in their capacity as commissioners have a greater responsibility than to be careless with citations, scholastically thoughtless and in general ahistorical.
Muller, John. “Lynching Averted in Washington City,” Ghosts of DC. November 9, 2012
MARSHALL DOUGLASS’ OLD MASTER DEAD. –
The Baltimore American this morning says: – Captain Thomas Auld, so well known as once the owner of Hon. Frederick Douglass – once an Eastern Shore slave boy, now Marshal of the District of Columbia, one of the finest public orators in the United States – died on Sunday last at the residence of his son-in-law, John C. Harper, esq., near St. Michael’s, Talbot county.
Captain Auld was 85 years of age, and had been almost helpless for a long time before he died. He was at one time a merchant in St. Michael’s, was a member of the M.E. Church, was a most excellent man in all the relations of life, and was a kind and indulgent master, when he owned slaves, freeing them all at the early age of 31 years.
In the year 1839, after young Douglass ran away from his slave plantation, Captain Auld received a letter from a gentleman in Canada, asking if he would sell his freedom papers, and offering a liberal sum of money for them. He did not reply to the letter, saying that Douglass would have been free in a few years had he not run away, and now that he has gone, he could stay.
After the passage of the fugitive slave law in 1850, he transferred his supposed right in Douglass to his brother, Mr. Hugh Auld, in Baltimore, who disposed of it to Douglass himself, who was thus relieved of all apprehensions of arrest.
“Marshall Douglass’ Old Master Dead.” Evening Star, 11 February, 1880, p. 4
There are numerous factual errors and speculations within this short news item. However, it is a valuable contemporaneous account.