“General Samuel Smith,” oil on canvas, by the Rembrandt Peale. Maryland Historical Society.
Coming up running corners, alleys and the market square with the Point Boys, by the fall of 1838 the intellectually defiant, rebellious spirit of Frederick Bailey, known to leaders in both the white and free black community, got ghost.
On the 3rd of September 1838 General Samuel Smith, a veteran of the War of 1812, United States Congress and United States Senate, served as Mayor of Baltimore City.
In studying Douglass few biographers get into the specifics of his time in Fells Point. In recent years Dr. Ed Papenfuse and Prof. Lawrence Jackson have begun to uplift the scholarship.
Dickson Preston’s groundbreaking and influential Young Frederick Douglass is the only book which gives substantial attention to Fells Point. McFeely captures an especially interesting story from Fells Point folklore that survived nearly 150 years.
Has any Douglass scholar looked into the political climate of Baltimore City from 1820 until 1840?
I do not know but I can’t recall ever reading about the Mayor and City Council in existing Douglass Studies literature — specifically General Smith who in 1827 served as a founding Vice President to the Maryland Colonization Society, an auxiliary of the American Colonization Society.
While living in Fells Point the teenage Bailey had a connection with a Justice of the Peace who also served as an elector in municipal and statewide elections.
I won’t get into speculative and vacuous psychological scholarship to explain that this association Bailey had was important.