Posts Tagged Easton
Book review forthcoming: “The Princeton Fugitive Slave: The Trials of James Collins Johnson” by Prof. Lolita Buckner Inniss (Fordham University Press, 2019)
James Collins Johnson ran with Frederick Bailey. Whereas in 1836 Collins evaded incrimination and capture, in 1839 he made his own move out Easton in Talbot County, Maryland.
As a late night rider of the Underground Railroad James Collins Johnson uplifted his humanity.
A lost legend of history they never wanted you to know. The Shore holds secrets not whispered for generations and history not told for centuries.
Must acknowledge Princeton University and express gratitude to Prof. Lolita Buckner Inniss for honorably recognizing this sacred story of a friend of peasants, students and presidents.
Maryland Commission on African American History & Culture -> Public Meeting, Mon., June 3, 2019 @ 11 AM (Asbury United Methodist Church, “The Hill,” Old Easton, Talbot County, Maryland)
Boyd K. Rutherford
Maryland Commission on African American History & Culture
Dale Glenwood Green
Tamara England Wilson
Notice of Annual Meeting
Historic Asbury United Methodist Church
The Hill Community (1788)
18 South Higgins Street
Easton, Maryland 21601
Monday, June 3, 2019
Please contact us by
phone (410) 216-6181 or by
The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) is committed to discovering, documenting, preserving, collecting, and promoting Maryland’s African American heritage. The Commission also provides technical assistance to institutions and groups with similar objectives. Through the accomplishment of this mission, the MCAAHC seeks to educate Maryland citizens and its visitors about the significance and impact of the African American experience in Maryland. The MCAAHC is a unit of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.
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Maryland Commission on African American History & Culture
C/O Banneker-Douglass Museum
84 Franklin Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
By: Lolita Buckner Inniss
Forthcoming Publication: September 2019
I never got no free papers. Princeton College bought me; Princeton College owns me; and Princeton College has got to give me my living.
James Collins Johnson made his name by escaping slavery in Maryland and fleeing to Princeton, where he built a life in a bustling community of African Americans working at what is now Princeton University. After only four years, he was recognized by a student from Maryland, arrested, and subjected to a trial for extradition under the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. On the eve of his rendition, after attempts to free Johnson by force had failed, a local aristocratic white woman purchased Johnson’s freedom, allowing him to avoid re-enslavement. The Princeton Fugitive Slave reconstructs James Collins Johnson’s life, from birth and enslaved life in Maryland to his daring escape, sensational trial for re-enslavement, and last-minute change of fortune, and through to the end of his life in Princeton, where he remained a figure of local fascination.
Stories of Johnson’s life in Princeton often describe him as a contented, jovial soul, beloved on campus and memorialized on his gravestone as “the Students Friend.” But these familiar accounts come from student writings and sentimental recollections in alumni reports—stories from elite, predominantly white, often southern sources whose relationships with Johnson were hopelessly distorted by differences in race and social standing. In interrogating these stories against archival records, newspaper accounts, courtroom narratives, photographs, and family histories, author Lolita Buckner Inniss builds a picture of Johnson on his own terms, piecing together the sparse evidence and disaggregating him from the other black vendors with whom he was sometimes confused.
By telling Johnson’s story and examining the relationship between antebellum Princeton’s black residents and the economic engine that supported their community, the book questions the distinction between employment and servitude that shrinks and threatens to disappear when an individual’s freedom is circumscribed by immobility, lack of opportunity, and contingency on local interpretations of a hotly contested body of law.
Lolita Buckner Inniss, J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., is a professor at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, where she is a Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow. Her research addresses historic, geographic, metaphoric, and visual norms of law, especially in the context of race, gender, and comparative constitutionalism.
Easton Gazette, Saturday evening, 18 November, 1826.
County Planning to Begin for Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe – [Wednesday, January 30, 2019, at 4 p.m]
The Talbot County Department of Parks and Recreation has been awarded a grant of up to $50,000 from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority to develop both a master plan and an interpretive plan for the Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe.
The official groundbreaking for the County-owned park was held on February 14, 2018, which was the 200th birthday of native son Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, who later changed his name to Frederick Douglass.
The park covers 107 acres on the Tuckahoe Creek just south of the town of Queen Anne in the northeast corner of Talbot County. A 66.96-acre parcel was purchased in 2006 with $1.8 million from Maryland Department of Natural Resources Program Open Space. The family of George C. and Naomi H. Moore donated another 40.2 acres of wetlands adjacent to this parcel in 2011.
The MHAA grant will allow Talbot County to engage members of the community and develop a plan for developing the infrastructure for a recreational park. In addition, it will identify places to tell the story of Frederick Douglass and to give more information about the Tuckahoe watershed and landscape.
In his first book, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the author himself writes, “I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot County, Maryland.” The Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe is located just upstream from the farm where Douglass was born in 1818.
“I am really looking forward to this endeavor,” says Parks and Recreation Director Preston Peper. “The Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe is a blank slate, full of possibilities. This planning process will help us determine the best use of this property and allow us to honor a great man. It’s exciting.”
Council President Corey Pack agrees. “The work we do now will set the course of the future for this park,” he says. “There will be ample opportunity for the public to participate in the planning process and to present their ideas for the park.”
Late in 2018, the Talbot County Council appointed a committee to work with County staff and their consultants on the development of the Douglass Park. Members of the committee are as follows.
Dale Glenwood Green is a professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation at Morgan State University and is partner in the architectural firm of Sulton Campbell Britt & Associates, PC. He serves as the chairman of the Governor’s statewide ethnic commission for community initiatives for the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.
County Manager Andy Hollis is the chief administrative officer of the County. Under the direction of the Council, he directs and supervises the administration of all agencies of the County government, unless otherwise stated by charter or law. Hollis resumed the County Manager position in 2015 after his term on the County Council ended. Before being elected to the Council, he served as County Manager for 11 years.
An active member of the Talbot County Park Advisory Board, Kim Kearns attended Georgetown University and earned a degree in American Studies. She has been a resident of the Eastern Shore for more than 30 years.
Eric Lowery currently serves as president of the Easton-based Frederick Douglass Honor Society. He is a long-time resident of the Unionville community and is employed at Chesapeake College.
The great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington, Kenneth Morris Jr. is the co-founder and president of the Atlanta-based nonprofit Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI). Morris also serves as the chairman of the 16-member Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission established by Congress.
Local history researcher and preservationist Priscilla Bond Morris is a member of Historic Easton, Inc., where she helped oversee the Town’s downtown redevelopment plan. In 2018, she developed the content for Talbot County’s new FrederickDouglassBirthplace.org website. Morris’s family roots in Talbot County date to the 17th century.
Corey Park is serving his third elected term on the Talbot County Council, after having been appointed in 2007 to fill an open seat, and currently serves as Council president. He recently retired from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services where he was been employed since 1994.
Preston Peper oversees Talbot County’s parks and public landings, as well as the Community Center. During his tenure, Peper has revamped the department’s budget, created a marketing program, increased programming, and was instrumental in the creation of the Oxford Conservation Park.
Marci Ross serves as the assistant director of tourism development for the Maryland Office of Tourism where she manages the state’s Welcome Centers Program, call center, and outreach efforts, as well as the marketing grant program. She played a key role in developing the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Cambridge and has successfully advocated for tourism attraction signage along Maryland’s highways in every corner of the state.
Mark Turner has served as a commissioner in the town of Queen Anne for more than 10 years. He is trained as an architect and works in health care design and construction for CRGA Architecture firm in Annapolis.
Cassandra Vanhooser currently serves as director of economic development and tourism for Talbot County. Under her direction, Talbot Tourism won the coveted “Visit Maryland Award” in 2015 from the Maryland Office of Tourism Development for their Escape to Talbot County rebranding campaign. In 2018, the department was again honored by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development for leveraging partnerships for the Frederick Douglass 200th birthday celebration.
The first meeting of the Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe Planning Committee will be held on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, at 4 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room, located in the South Wing of the Talbot County Courthouse, 11 N. Washington Street in Easton
LINK: Star Democrat
Talbot County Press Release: (PDF)
UPDATE: This meeting was promptly postponed.
VIDEO: “Carlisle’s Chesapeake,” interviews Hon. Tarence Bailey (US Army, Ret.), great nephew of Frederick Douglass, about great uncle and ancestral heritage in Eastern Shore of Maryland’s Talbot County
For more information on this project led by University of Maryland Professor Mark Leone please see the below links.
“In Easton, archaeologists hope to uncover earliest free African-American settlement,” Baltimore Sun, July 25, 2013
Eastern Shoreman Douglassonian Morgan State Professor Dale Green uplifts history of “The Hill” neighborhood in Old Easton, Maryland, Talbot County
Morgan State Professor and indigenous Eastern Shoreman scholar Professor Dale Green shares and uplifts ancient history of “The Hill” and uplifts fallen history of oldest free African-American community in the country.
Video is from 2013.
Professor Dale Glenwood Green serves as the Chair of the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture.
Will Old Anacostia & Washington, D.C. join Fell’s Point, Baltimore and Easton, Maryland in hanging banners to honor Frederick Douglass Bicentennial celebration?
In this week’s edition of The Washington Informer is an article I wrote, “Activists Call for Douglass Banners in Old Anacostia to Hail Bicentennial Celebration,” with quotes from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Honorable Ken B. Morris, Jr., Chuck Hicks and Duane Guatier of the Anacostia Arts Center.
The article has precipitated discussions as to how to make the presence of banners a reality. In order to advance the conversation I share a couple ideas:
Throughout the neighborhoods of Washington City a residual spirit of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass touches extant churches, schools, cemeteries, bridges, landmarks and buildings. Both local and national activism efforts required Dr. Douglass to remain familiar with the Federal City, as well. The United States Capitol, White House and Treasury are all places Dr. Douglass was no stranger.
Therefore distinctive Douglass banners could be placed in minimally three (3) separate locations throughout NW, NE and SE Washington:
- Lower Georgia Avenue & upper 7th Street NW — Frederick Douglass and Howard University
- Capitol Hill Historic District — Frederick Douglass and Reconstruction (editor of the New National Era & relationship with Congress)
- Anacostia Historic District — Frederick Douglass and Family; Frederick Douglass and local activism
For the installation of Douglass banners in Washington City to occur there must be a sense of purpose and urgency upon a number of elected officials, bureaucrats and community partners.
Washington City has the collective sophistication and enough collective coin to make this easily happen and happen quickly. Ideally, installation before July 4th would have been poetic but as we are in mid-June that won’t happen.
It appears there needs to be coordination on the Douglass Bicentennial between the offices of Mayor Muriel Bowser and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. With the municipal support of Bowser and the federal support of Norton the placement of banners can be achieved.
I can personally attest, and the record reflects, Congresswoman Norton has been a lioness on the Hill advocating and uplifting the legacy of Dr. Douglass for many years now. The relocation of the Douglass statue from Judiciary Square to the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall was largely due Congresswoman Norton’s leadership. Norton is truly a Douglassonian. However, there is only so much she can do as her office has larger issues to contend with under the Trump Administration.
William Alston-EL and I attended the opening of then-Mayoral candidate Bowser’s Anacostia field office many years ago. Other than light conversation I do not know Mayor Bowser and her level of commitment to Douglassonianism and the uplifting of fallen history.
As part of President Trump’s inaugural parade the DC government (city council and Mayor) displayed a Douglass banner across their stand. The convenient ceremonial pageantry is not what is needed now.
What is needed is leadership and coordination between local ANC Commissioners (Wards 1, 4, 6 and 8), Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), DC Office of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), DC Commission on Arts & Humanities (DCCAH), Office of Planning’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and a bevy of community organizations from Shaw to Capitol Hill to Old Anacostia.
It is time for Washington City to join Fell’s Point, Easton and Rochester in uplifting Frederick Douglass.
Below is the image the National Park Service has used to commemorate the Douglass Bicentennial. Potential banners could be two-sided, with this image or a unique image on one side and a geo-specific or thematic design on the reverse side.