Posts Tagged Colored American
Unanswered questions abound about Anna (Murray) Douglass … “The First Mrs. Frederick Douglass,” [Colored American, May 12, 1900]
Historically, historians have neglected, overlooked and speculated about Anna (Murray) Douglass. A new book by ex-communicated W Street Douglassonian Prof. Leigh Fought has advanced research on the women in the world of Dr. Douglass, yet there is still much work to be done.
- What do we know about Anna’s siblings?
- What do you we know about her parents?
- Did Betsey Bailey know Anna and her family?
- Did Betsey deliver Anna?
- What do we know about the friendships, relationships and associations Anna had in Caroline County, Baltimore, New Bedford, Lynn, Rochester and Washington City?
- What do we know about Anna’s travels back to Baltimore to visit what can be presumed to be her friends and family?
- Did Helen and Anna know each other?
- Why do we largely judge Anna, who lived in the 1800s, with a modern temperament and prejudices?
Due to shoddy Douglass scholarship at nearly every turn and recent visits to the Eastern Shore I’ve decided to expand the areas of my research to include everything, including — since this “historical memory” thing is big — the historical memory of Anna Douglass.
The foundational document historians have relied upon for information about Anna is her daughter’s lecture, “My Mother as I Recall Her.” But if we look we can find much more, such as this article from the Colored American which details an event held by the Anna Murray Douglass Union.
Colored American, 12 May 1900, page 11.
The Colored American began publishing in 1893 under the ownership of Edward Elder Cooper, who had distinguished himself as the founder of the Indianapolis Freeman, the first illustrated African American newspaper. The Colored American operated its presses at 459 C Street in Washington’s northwest quadrant. The weekly publication promoted itself as a national Negro newspaper and it carried lengthy feature stories on the achievements of African Americans across the country. Publisher Cooper relied on contributions from such prominent black journalists such as John E. Bruce and Richard W. Thompson to sustain the national scope of his paper, which readers could obtain for a $2.00 annual subscription.
The Colored American included a regular column called “City Paragraphs” that highlighted events in the nation’s capital and routinely featured articles on religion, politics, education, military affairs, and black fraternal organizations. The paper distinguished itself by its use of original reporting rather than relying on boiler-plate, filler material taken from other publications. Like other papers, however, it included advertising, much of it geared to black consumers.
The paper ran editorials and political cartoons that championed improved social conditions in the black community and expanded rights for African Americans. Although it held a reputation for political independence, the Colored American was actually staunchly Republican. Cooper allied himself and his paper with Booker T. Washington, and the publisher looked to the famous black educator for financial assistance. Another financial backer was lecturer and activist Mary Church Terrell, a noted African American civil rights advocate who wrote a column for the paper titled “The Women’s World,” under the pseudonym Euphemia Kirk.
Unfortunately for the Colored American, Cooper proved to be a poor businessman and, because of some unorthodox business practices and extensive debts to creditors, financial problems plagued the paper. It ceased publication in November 1904. – Library of Congress, Chronicling America
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs; Call Number: LOT 11303