Posts Tagged 1883
Black Women in the World of Frederick Douglass – Henrietta Vinton Davis recites Shakespeare at Cedar Hill [April 1883]
As we proceed to uplift the fallen history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass and the legion of radical black women within his intricate network we continue to dismantle the dangerous “White Woman Lies” Prof. Leigh Fought has advanced unchallenged within the academy since the publication of her consequential book last year.
Numerous radical black women educators, such as Dr. Georgiana R. Simpson, trusted and looked to Dr. Douglass as a father figure since their early childhoods. In recognizing the true legacy we will not allow this sacred history to be distorted and ignored by alleged “experts.” Despite these leading scholars being largely devoid of original scholarship their lies are promoted and awarded.
Leigh Fought has knowingly or subconsciously dangerously minimized and lied on women who knew Dr. Douglass for nearly a half-century.
Coming up in our own time we ran with our own legion of radical black women. Now grown, more than a couple of these women have granted me permission to set the record straight once and forever.
On W Street in Old Anacostia there are radical white women who fire off emails to elected officials and city agencies, following the Douglassonian tradition of agitating the city for an improvement of services within the neighborhood.
On W Street in Old Anacostia there are more than a couple radical black women who keep their door open for generations of returning citizens who accumulatively have served centuries.
There is an unknown history of radical black women coming through W Street, formerly Jefferson Street, in Old Anacostia that Prof. Leigh Fought completely ignores in her book despite my efforts to forewarn her.
Since Le Moyne College Professor Leigh Fought found it in her to reach we will now teach.
Dr. Douglass is a Shakespearean figure in American history and in his own life and times Dr. Douglass was a Shakespearean. On at least two occasions Douglass participated in readings with the Uniontown Shakespeare Club, first introduced to the public record by scholar Phil Foner.
A fugitive slave-scholar Dr. Douglass could hold street corners with the same ease he could hold the public stage. A common lie within Douglassoniana Studies and a common public misconception is that Dr. Douglass became isolated as he aged and was reluctant to use his influence to uplift others.
Wrong. White Man Lies. White Woman Lies.
As America’s Pharaoh Dr. Douglass was known for his cultural discernment and promotion of the arts. As many of us do when struck by tragedy we turn to the arts.
In April 1883, less than a year after the passing of Anna Douglass and less than a year before his marriage to Helen Pitts, Dr. Douglass held a small gathering at Cedar Hill for a young actress on the eve of her grand introduction to Washington society.
As a radical agitator Dr. Douglass influenced legion of radical black women. These women, such as Henrietta Vinton Davis, used the teachings of Dr. Douglass to continue their radical agitation for many generations henceforth. For example, Davis is well known to many Garveyites as a close confidant of Marcus Garvey.
For genteel white women such as Leigh Fought the associations Dr. Douglass had with radical black women, other than the default Ida B. Wells, may be difficult to understand. We understand but others may not be as kind.
Without further delay we provide a small newspaper item which shows Dr. Douglass to be an early radical promoter of the nascent Black arts movement.
Reception to Miss Henrietta Vinton Davis
Hon. Frederick Douglass invited a few friends last evening to his residence in Uniontown to meet Henrietta Vinton Davis, the young colored lady who is to make her debut in dramatic recitals on Wednesday evening, 25th instant, at Marini’s Hall.
Miss Davis recited very effectively scenes from “Romeo and Juliet,” “As You Like It,” “Brier Rose” (a poem of great dramatic power by Bjornson), “Awfully Lovely Philosophy” and “Dancing at the Flat Creek Quarters.” Mr. Douglass, than whom there is no better judge, made a speech of congratulation, and predicted a successful future for Miss Davis.
Miss Marquerite E. Saxton, the preceptress of Miss Davis, upon a request from Mr. Douglass, gave a scene from “Macbeth,” and recited “Drifting.” Miss Saxton is so well and favorably known that the appearance of her pupil will be one of the events of the season.
Evening Critic, 24 April 1883
* Special acknowledgement to Davon Wright aka Aquafina Boo-Boo, our dear friend and radical black actress known throughout Washington City theatre communities.
Frederick Douglass’ book translated into French and printed in Paris, 1883 [Mes Années D’esclavage Et De Libertie = My Years of Slavery and Liberty]
ED Note: This isn’t the best quality scan but you get the idea. The idea is Parisians knew about FD before he stepped through la rues.