Posts Tagged Baltimore

VIDEO: “Baltimore’s Point Boys helped Frederick Douglass learn to read” -> WBAL TV (February 4, 2021)

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Brief note on Frederick (Bailey) Douglass & the Enoch Pratt Free Library; FBD knew Dr. Lewis Henry Steiner, founding Librarian of Enoch Pratt Free Library

Lewis Henry Steiner.jpgAs 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.

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VIDEO: “Preserving history of Frederick Douglass homes in Fells Point” (WBAL-TV; Baltimore, August 2020)

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Thank you to WBAL for interviewing Lost History Associates John Muller & Justin McNeil in Fell’s Point for forthcoming feature on the Lost History of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass

Thank you to reporter Lisa Robinson and cameraman Steve Adams of WBAL (NBC) for taking time Thursday, January 14, 2021 to walk and talk with John Muller and Justin McNeil of Lost History Associates in Fell’s Point about the lost history of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in Baltimore.

Check your local listings for a forthcoming feature(s) and/or circle back to this blog upon the first of February 2021 for more information. 

Justin McNeil, co-founder of Lost History Associates, speaks with WBAL in Fell’s Point, Baltimore.

John Muller, co-founder of Lost History Associates, speaks with WBAL in Fell’s Point, Baltimore.


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Did Frederick (Bailey) Douglass lecture to benefit “Johns Hopkins Colored Orphan Asylum”?

For the last thirty years of his life Frederick (Bailey) Douglass was a frequent presence in Baltimore City.

Douglass attended the horse races, citywide parades, developed real estate properties, maintained connections with childhood friends and spoke within and to benefit local churches, local schools, community centers and orphanages.

Earlier this week, Johns Hopkins University rolled out “news” regarding its founder that has reportedly been known for generations within the community of local researchers and local historians.

Did Frederick (Bailey) Douglass lecture to benefit “Johns Hopkins Colored Orphan Asylum“?

How did Douglass know Hopkins, as well as other Baltimore philanthropists from George Peabody to Enoch Pratt? Did Douglass and Professor Kelly Miller discuss his experiences at JHU?

We hope “these questions” also begin to be asked and researched.

It will take generations to reconcile the history in the wave of front stories, spins and propaganda. 


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WYPR (88.1 FM) “On The Record” -> Who Was Frederick (Bailey) Douglass, The Man? [December 4, 2020]

To make sense of history we often turn to books to help illustrate life in the past. But today we talk with someone who brings history alive by taking it to the streets — of Baltimore.

Historian and author John Muller gives us a preview of his walking tour: The Lost History of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass.

He believes the well-worn stories of the abolitionist’s loftier accomplishments don’t portray the true scope of the man he was.


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TUNE IN: 9:30 AM @ Friday, December 4, 2020 -> WYPR (88.1 FM) “On the Record” features Douglassonian John Muller to discuss Frederick (Bailey) Douglass Walking Tour in Baltimore

WYPR staff faces Friday deadline for three buyouts

Thank you to WYPR and “On The Record” for taking time to speak about the upcoming walking tours of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in Baltimore, Sunday, December 13, 2020.

Interview will air Friday, December 4, 2020 at 9:30 AM (EST) on WYPR, 88.1 FM, out of Baltimore City.

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Did Anna Murray parlez-vous français? Pourquoi, bien sûr.

On the Life of Black Abolitionist Anna Murray Douglass –Les historiens ne vous l’ont pas encore dit, donc vous ne savez pas.

Frederick (Bailey) Douglass était un francophile noir américain en raison de l’influence de sa femme honorée et digne; Anna du Tuckahoe.

Frederick ne pouvait pas briser les coins et les communautés avec des réfugiés haïtiens, priant dans une langue étrangère à une nation étrangère, tout comme Anna.

“Le regard blanc” du honteux Leigh Fought, et presque tous les historiens blancs qui ont déjà étudié Douglass, n’ont jamais compris la complexité d’Anna.

Les femmes blanches ne devraient plus jamais écrire sur Anna Murray après le travail honteux de Leigh Fought.

Anna Murray était une abolitionniste internationale une décennie avant que le monde n’entende parler de son mari.

Nous savons qui sont ces historiens honteux: David Blight, Leigh Fought, John Stauffer, Celeste Marie-Bernie et toute l’équipe d’historiens des mensonges blancs.

Anna Murray a été affiliée et initiée avec des abolitionnistes internationaux à l’adolescence; elle garde un évêque de l’Église épiscopale méthodiste africaine sur le Tuckahoe. Anna Murray a eu du respect sur chaque crique de la côte est et à l’angle de la ville de Baltimore.

Nous devons élever l’histoire, l’âme et l’esprit d’Anna Murray; le héros le plus méconnu du mouvement abolitionniste international. Sans Anna, nous ne connaîtrions pas Frédéric.

Nous avons été élevés par des grands-mères, des tantes, des sœurs, des cousines, des dames d’église, des bibliothécaires, des enseignants et des gardiens du coin dans l’esprit d’Anna Murray. Par conséquent, nous devons raconter une fois et pour toujours l’histoire perdue.

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Frederick (Bailey) Douglas was raised around Black American patriots of the Continental Army & Old Defenders of Baltimore

Running errands in the streets and hanging on the corners of Baltimore City an adolescent Frederick Bailey came up among the celtic Point Boys, Afro-Franco emigre pupils from Saint-Domingue and their Oblate Sisters of Providence instructors and a distinguished group of men, known as the Old Defenders for repelling the British from invading the harbor in the fall of 1814, given their own annual day of recognition and celebration. 

During his days on and off the docks Frederick Bailey spent his time with Black veterans of the Revolutionary War and a select fraternity of Black Baltimoreans who had defended their city from foreign enemies. 

It was firsthand from this respected and authoritative company he was entrusted with stories of Black American’s selfless service to the Star-Spangled Banner from those who had seen, heard and survived bombs bursting in the air and ground-fire of musket balls whistling in the streets. 

Frederick Bailey not only heard of the nobility of Charles Ball, George Roberts and William Williams and other patriots; these patriots knew the confident precocious chatterbox of a young man and the young man from the Tuckahoe knew them in return. 

Influenced by these patriots, intimately knowing their sacrifice to the founding and defence of the nascent nation, as an elder in his 70s Frederick Douglass advocated for “pensions for ex-slaves.”

To think Douglass was not in close touch and friendship with the community of children, grand-children and great-grandchildren of these aforementioned Black American patriots, and those who were denied a pension for their military service, is scholastically thoughtless. 

Popular public history would have you believe the only benevolence and charity that ever came to Frederick Bailey came from white folk.

They don’t want you to know Frederick (Bailey) Washington was raised around Black American patriots of the Continental Army and the Old Defenders of Baltimore.

We know. Street history abides.


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“Black Reconstruction and its Legacies in Baltimore, 1865-1920” (October 3, 2019 @ Red Emma’s Bookstore & October 4, 2019 @ Union Baptist Church on Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland)

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Reverend Harvey Johnson, the 5th pastor of Union Baptist Church, and the co-founder organizer of the United Mutual Brotherhood of Liberty.

In A Brotherhood of Liberty, Dennis Patrick Halpin shifts the focus of the black freedom struggle from the Deep South to argue that Baltimore is key to understanding the trajectory of civil rights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the 1870s and early 1880s, a dynamic group of black political leaders migrated to Baltimore from rural Virginia and Maryland. These activists, mostly former slaves who subsequently trained in the ministry, pushed Baltimore to fulfill Reconstruction’s promise of racial equality. In doing so, they were part of a larger effort among African Americans to create new forms of black politics by founding churches, starting businesses, establishing community centers, and creating newspapers.

Black Baltimoreans successfully challenged Jim Crow regulations on public transit, in the courts, in the voting booth, and on the streets of residential neighborhoods. They formed some of the nation’s earliest civil rights organizations, including the United Mutual Brotherhood of Liberty, to define their own freedom in the period after the Civil War.

Halpin shows how black Baltimoreans’ successes prompted segregationists to reformulate their tactics. He examines how segregationists countered activists’ victories by using Progressive Era concerns over urban order and corruption to criminalize and disenfranchise African Americans. Indeed, he argues the Progressive Era was crucial in establishing the racialized carceral state of the twentieth-century United States.

Tracing the civil rights victories scored by black Baltimoreans that inspired activists throughout the nation and subsequent generations, A Brotherhood of Liberty highlights the strategies that can continue to be useful today, as well as the challenges that may be faced.

Author Dennis Patrick Halpin teaches history at Virginia Tech.

*Reverend Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr. is the 10th pastor of Union Baptist Church and will be reportedly be in attendance at both events below.

October 3, 2019 @ 7 PM – 9PM
Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse
1225 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201


October 4, 2019 @ 6 PM
Union Baptist Church
1219 Druid Hill Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland


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