Posts Tagged George Washington

Bishop Charles Henry Fowler, president of Northwestern University, compares Frederick Douglass to George Washington (‘Historical Romance of the American Negro,’ 1902)

Thousands of eminent men have arisen from the ranks of the colored race since 1865, and thousands are now upon their feet also. Their names have reached the ends of the earth. But Fred. Douglass was early in the field, and he was a very, very bright particular star.

Like John Bunyan, George Washington, and some few others, he shines for all time, and for the entire human race. He did a mighty work for God and humanity.

Of all those illustrious men who have been born of women, there has never arisen a greater man, in all the annals of time, than our congenial friend and brother, Fred. Douglass.


1902

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Did Frederick (Bailey) Douglass know Henry Van Meter, who saw Washington and served in the War of 1812?

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New National Era. (Washington City): Feb 23, 1871. (3). editor: FREDERICK (Bailey) DOUGLASS

As an intellectually curious child in tow with his grandmother travelling colonial dirt roads of the Tuckahoe the attention of Frederick Bailey was attuned to the history, customs and culture of his community.

Raised in his grandparents cabin, Isaac Bailey served as the first male father figure for a young Frederick. Throughout his life and across his public career, Douglass acknowledged and recognized the contributions of his elder forefathers.

Accustomed and acclimated to the company of Black American Patriots of the Revolutionary War and the Black Defenders of Baltimore, Frederick (Bailey) Douglass stepped forged and formed onto the national and international stage precipitously and deliberately influenced by men whose stories of sacrifices and contributions to the founding of this country history have mostly been forgotten today.

Frederick (Bailey) Douglass made sure America never forgot the contributions of these Black American Patriots while he had a say about it.

In February 1871, under the editorial guidance of Douglass, the New National Era ran an obituary for Henry Van Meter, “a Black Hero of the Revolution.”

A minor celebrity in his own time, due features in Harper’s Weekly and Benson J. Lossing’s Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812, Henry Van Meter was reportedly 110 years old or thereabouts when he passed in Bangor, Maine following the Civil War. 

In a footnote to Lossing’s brief feature on Van Meter, there is this interesting note:

Henry remembered seeing Washington many times.

When Governor Nelson’s estate was sold after the war to pay his debts, Henry became the property of a planter beyond the Blue Ridge, on the extreme frontier.

He was discontented, and wished to leave, notwithstanding his master was kind. He wished Henry to marry one of his slave girls, and raise children for him, offering, if he would do so, to order in his will that he should be made a free man at his death. “I didn’t like the gals,” said Henry, “and didn’t want to ‘wait for dead men’s shoes.’

So master sold me to a man near Lexington, in Kentucky, and there was only one log house in that town when I went there.” He was soon sold to one of those vile men engaged in the slave-trading business, who treated him shamefully. Henry mounted one of his master’s horses one night, and fled to the Kentucky River, where he turned him loose, and told him to go home if he had a mind to, as he didn’t wish to steal him. Some benevolent white people helped him on to the Ohio, and at Cincinnati, then a collection of houses around Fort Washington, he took the name of Van Meter, borne by some of the family of his kind master of the Shenandoah Valley.

Henry became a servant of an officer in St. Clair’s army, and served in the company, in the Northwest, with that commander and General Wayne. After the peace in 1795, he was living in Chillicothe, and came East with some Englishmen with horses, by way of Wheeling, to Philadelphia.

In the latter city some Quakers sent him to school, and he learned to read and write. When the war broke out he shipped as a common sailor in the privateer Lawrence, having previously been to Europe several times in the same capacity, and when cast into Dartmoor he held a prize ticket which was worth, when he got home, one thousand dollars. He let a captain have it as security for sixteen dollars. The man died of yellow fever in the South, and Henry never recovered his ticket.

Is it possible Henry Van Meter took his name from the Henry Van Meter (and the Van Meter family) that housed and corresponded with George Washington? We think so. 


Prior to the Civil War, Maine was an active state for the anti-slavery movement, as well as other reform efforts. Some notable citizens of Maine whom Douglass knew and/or worked closely with include, but not limited to, General Oliver Otis Howard, Secretary of State James G. Blaine and the politically influential Fessenden family.

While in bereavement over the death of Anna Murray Douglass, Frederick spent time in the summer of 1883 in the resort community of Poland Spring, Maine. (You’ve likely had a bottle of water bearing its namesake.)

Douglass was a frequent presence in the state of Maine before and after the Civil War. According to the public record, Bangor was a city he visited and formally addressed before and after the war. 

The decision of Douglass to run an obituary for Henry Van Meter is a deliberate recognition of the tradition and history of Black American Patriots who served and saved this country throughout its founding decades. 

Henry Van Meter "

Henry Van Meter, with signature. This image was reproduced in Harper’s Magazine while Van Meter was living. Douglass was frequently featured in Harper’s and in 1883 was placed on the popular magazine’s cover.

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A Note on the Sentiment of the Times: Frederick Douglass and George Washington from the Tuckahoe to Old Anacostia to Mount Vernon

A most profound Washingtonian of the 19th century walking the grounds of Mount Vernon seems redundant until you realize said man, of profoundness, was one Frederick Augustus Washington (Bailey) Douglass.

The Honorable Frederick Douglass, who visited Mount Vernon on several occasions, in a capacity that would satisfy both his public and private interests, is still relatively unknown outside of his promethean efforts as a leader of an international and American Abolitionist Movement.

Whereas you can find volume upon volume chronicling the Founding Fathers of America we have yet to turn our earnest attention to interpret the deeper legacies of our nation’s seminal forebears; Black American Patriots

In understanding what we inherit from our ancestors subsists a compelling sentiment of what Fredrick Douglass would have gleaned from his durable study and lifelong admiration of the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army as taught him by Black American Patriot Founding Fathers.

As has been said Frederick Douglass is to Black America what President George Washington is to America, ongoing dialogue with our communities supports this continuance of sentiment that Douglass manifested in his life. Those who would deny this sacred sentiment have either yet to explore this history or deem it and its truer implications insignificant.

The paucity of a scholastic understanding and collective wherewithal is not by chance, however; professional historians, government-supported historical organizations and institutions of higher learning across generations and geography have knowingly or unknowingly largely ignored the consequential relationships and interconnectedness of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass (1818 – 1895) to Founding Father George Washington (1732 – 1799).

The connections and associations are near infinite. On the Tuckahoe Frederick (Bailey) Douglass was initiated as a Washingtonian by patriotic Black veterans of the Continental Army who served, distinguishably, alongside General Washington and his officer corps.

Within the community of Old Anacostia, in the hilly terrain of Southeast Washington City, Mr. Douglass would discover himself acquainted with those who had been born at Mount Vernon. He knew intimately the yoke of bondage and in it the degrees of complexity to which the precarious relationship existed between the bonded and the bondsmen. Mr. Douglass would have “[imbibed] the prejudices” of his fellow Washingtonians.

In the District of Columbia these legacies, these grandchildren of Mount Vernon’s manumitted society were taught by members of the Douglass family, who served as night school teachers and principals of DC Public Schools. These young Washingtonians would often find themselves gamboling and playing baseball with their classmates, the Douglass grandchildren, on the grounds of Cedar Hill. 

The Washington family remains a respected family within Old Anacostia today due their continued leadership and contributions to the neighborhood and throughout Washington City. The Washington surname is recognized on each and every individual sign of the Old Anacostia Heritage Trail among community members who supported and contributed to the creation of the markers

Uncle Akelo Washington of Old Anacostia looks on as a camera crew from WETA interviews Mr. Ray out front of E’s store with a mural of Frederick Douglass facing 16th Street SE.

For more than 150 years Black Washingtons have been respected leaders within Old Anacostia, Barry Farm, Garfield, Good Hope and adjacent historic Freedmen communities of Washington, D.C. 

Across his public career Douglass often invoked the memory of Washington, as did other abolitionists of his era and those that preceded it. Douglass was raised into a tradition of spirited reverence for Black American Patriots whom Washington, Lafayette, and other officers from the prominent Shore families entrusted and accredited with their lives. 

In General Washington, Douglass would discover a coadjutor and proponent in his cause, and the cause of his four million enslaved brothers, sisters, cousins, mothers, fathers and grandparents; the cause to end the condition of enslavement in America.


A thorough textual-analysis and study of every public speech and interview Frederick Douglass delivered, every private and public correspondence, every anecdote, memory and reference of friends and associates has not yet been realized in publication nor contemplated by the American academy. 

Indigenous Douglassonian communities throughout this country need not your study. The history abides. Recorded oral collections within Old Anacostia today align with the historic record of Mr. Douglass and President Washington. 

No apologists are to be found within Old Anacostia today for the community’s loyalty to Mr. Douglass. As Mr. Douglass respected and claimed George Washington as one of his own, as does Old Anacostia. 

From the family of Coach Wanda Washington to the family of Uncle Akelo Washington, within the presence of the specters of Cedar Hill today live Black American Washingtonians, the genesis of their surname the Washington family of Virginia

The duality of American Patriotism is that American Patriotism is, and has always been, defined, shaped and determined by the patriotism of Black Americans. 

Generations before publication in 1903 of The Souls of Black Folks Douglass manifested this duality, and “double consciousness,” in his fidelity to Washington and an unwavering public recognition of the determinant role of the contributions of Black American patriots at every moment of every battle of the Revolutionary War, citing their prominence in founding this country’s freedom creed as equal to Washington, if not greater in humanity and sentiment. 

Therefore Black Americans, free, indentured and enslaved, who inhabited old settlements along the Tuckahoe Creek of Caroline and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore had an obligation to provide counsel on Washingtonian virtues in war and peace to a young Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey

This community of Black American citizen-soldier forgotten patriots of the Revolution told Betsy Bailey’s grandson the virtues of General Washington were his to inherit.

The astute and precocious young child born in enslavement was of the loyalty of Black Americans to Washington and the loyalty of Washington to Black Americans. Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was baptized in the muddy waters as a native son of Revolutionary Black American citizen-soldiers who held the virtues of Washington as their own.

George Washington and William Lee, John Trumbull (American, Lebanon, Connecticut 1756–1843 New York), Oil on canvas, American

General George Washington with aide-de-camp Honorable William “Billy” Lee” on horse. John Trumbull, 1780. Metropolitan Museum. Inside the main residence at Wye House a painting of Washington held a prominent place, as Douglass recalled later in life. Charles Wilson Peale painted several members of the Lloyd Family of Maryland, as well as Washington.

The courage and loyalty of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to question the founding principles of his native soil throughout his entire public career across a half-century is a Washingtonian virtue.

Taught lessons of life and loyalty to community and family from his earliest recollections, the lifelong work of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to return his opportunities to others of his race is definitively an African virtue, inscribed and carried in proverb and prophecy. 

Black Americans dual patriotism is uniquely a product of the historic intersection of a peoples with millenniums of African civilization, customs, cultures and values forged in battle for American Independence alongside General George Washington that has yet to be fully recognized and reconciled to this day. 

As the father figure of America, George Washington was an adopted father figure for Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey from his earliest recollections.

The oral tradition, and historic record, confirm the abiding commitment and contributions Douglass made to Washington City, specifically Freedmen communities east of the Anacostia River, where the Douglass family lived and actively participated in the betterment of civic life for more than a quarter-century. 

Addressing local churches, schools, citywide celebrations and speaking with folks on the corners, Frederick (Bailey) Douglass imparted his affinity and admiration for President Washington, and the Black American Revolutionary War Patriots who served their country alongside Washington, to a generation of future physicians, educators, entertainers, journalists, authors, soldiers, dramatists, lawyers, philanthropists, preachers, politicians, diplomats and Civil Rights activists who lived well into the 1950s and 1960s. 

As George Washington is a father of America, its founding and is an embodiment of national patriotism as Frederick (Bailey) Douglass is that nameless enslaved child who was reared at the foot of sable soldiers of the Continental Army to ignite reform across the country and Western World for peoples of African descent that continues to inspire Black and White American school children anew today. 

The defiantly militant agitation for Black America that was the life’s work of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass was inspired by many known, and many nameless and forgotten patriots. 

Throughout his life Douglass would invoke President Washington as an ode to Black American Patriots; a song to those who had sacrificed and bled for freedom, whose blood and bone were interred on the hallowed theaters of war of the American Revolution and did not see their liberation realized. 

Even today one could not speak to the legacy of America’s fight for sovereignty from the British without, in the same breath, mentioning both the courage of George Washington and the valor of the nation’s Black Defenders of America; it would be a disservice to the history of both.

As 2020 wanes we feel it our obligation and responsibility to speak on and to the sentiment of our times as Douglassonians and Washingtonians.

Sentimentality will not save us as a country but it may help us save us from ourselves. 

In an 1857 speech in New York City, delivered in response to the March ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Dred Scott v Sanford, Frederick Douglass invoked not just the memory of Washington but cited Washington’s redemptive sentiment; the redemptive sentiment on which this forsaken soil was founded. 

George Washington can never be claimed as a fanatic, or as the representative of fanatics.

The slaveholders impudently use his name for the base purpose of giving respectability to slavery. Yet, in a letter to Robert Morris, Washington uses this language — language which, at this day, would make him a terror of the slaveholders, and the natural representative of the Republican party.

“There is not a man living, who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see some plan- adopted for the abolition of slavery ; but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by Legislative authority ; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall not be wanting.”

Washington only spoke the sentiment of his times.


Note, article & research registered with United States Copyright Office; Library of Congress.

Authorship: JHM & JLM

 

 

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A note on steamboats & 1878 visit of United States Marshal of the District of Columbia Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to Mount Vernon, the home of President George Washington

 - Within recent weeks we have begun compiling nearly a decade of research notes and recollected thousands of conversations with community members concerning the lost history of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass of Washington City by way of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and George Washington of Virginia, the founding father of America.

One of the most evident examples of the lifelong sentiment Douglass held for Washington are the half-dozen or so visits he made to Mount Vernon, in both private and a public capacity, while living in Washington City following the Civil War.

While serving as United States Marshal of the District of Columbia in the administration of 19th President Rutherford B. Hayes Frederick Douglass joined an assemblage, on the steamer Mary Washington, to Mount Vernon in June 1878 attached to the annual meeting of the council of vice regents of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association.

The MVLA welcomed Governor Frederick Holliday of Virginia and Governor Henry Matthews of West Virginia among other prominent officials, socialites and philanthropists.

A man of modern conveyances, Douglass was a frequent and extensive traveler on steam ships around waterways in and around Washington City, Baltimore, Annapolis, Maryland’s Eastern Shore and tidewater regions of Virginia for the last thirty years of his life. This history has been lost and is unknown today in all existing scholarship on Frederick Douglass.

Traveling up and down, back and forth across the Chesapeake Bay by way of area rivers and tributaries from the Potomac to the Choptank to the Patapsco to the Chester to the Elizabeth to the Wye to the James to the Severn to the Miles, Frederick Douglass was a most conspicuous presence on any ship he boarded.

Although not infrequently the recipient of discrimination on steamships in antebellum America and during voyages across the Atlantic and to the Caribbean, it was widely reported that captains of the Chesapeake steam fleet welcomed Douglass aboard, often inviting him and his company into the captain’s quarters.

According to a section of Tindall’s Standard History of Washington City on local steamboat companies and their specific operations, including the Mount Vernon line:


The steamer W. W. Corcoran commenced making trips to Mount Vernon about 187[8], and continued to do so until re- placed by the Charles Macalester in 1890. She was burned at her dock in September, 1891.

About 1876, and for some years after, the Arrow, a small fast steamer, also took excursions to Mount Vernon.

The Mary Washington, a flat-bottomed steamer, equipped with a centerboard, was operated by E. S. Randall as an excursion boat to White House and Occoquon from about 1873 to 1882.


Further background on the Mary Washington and Mount Vernon’s line of steam boats can be gleaned from the indispensable writings of “The Rambler” in the Washington Star.

In 1920 the Rambler turned his rambling attention to steamers; specifically a series of “Rambles” featuring “Famous Old Passenger Craft of Historic Water Route – Phantom Ships as They Pass in the Night – The Mary Washington.

The Rambler wrote:


Somehow or others, as the talk in the harbor office turned to old boats of the Potomac river, the first one mentioned was the Mary Washington and the first of the river captains mentioned was the Mary‘s first commander, Capt. Gregg.

Although it is perfectly proper to class the Mary Washington with the old Potomac steamboats, she was not so very old even when she passed away. Yet she was a famous boat and nearly every Washingtonian traveled on her. For years she was an excursion carrier to the popular river resorts, and the feature which endears her in the memory of so many Washington men and women is that they danced merrily on her decks. She was a dancing boat. Her decks were broad and smooth and the music furnished by the many bands that served on her was said to be always good

Thousands of people who are following these lines danced on the Mary Washington, which as the years went by came to be affectionately called “the Old Mary.” The Mary was not built to be an excursion steamer. She was built for business, and as the Rambler’s memory serves him, she was built at the instance of the Potomac Fruit Growers’ Association, an organization of Virginians that was quite active in the 70’s.

The Mary was built on Accotink creek, below the village of Accotink, in 1874.

The Rambler finds this paragraph in The Star of Saturday, June 6, 1874: “The new steamboat Martha Washington was launched at Accotink, Va., on Thursday morning and towed up to Alexandria, where she is to receive her engines.”

She seemed to have been named the Martha Washington at her launching, for that name occurs several times in the chronicles, but in a month after she was given to the river she was called the Mary Washington.

About the time of the Philadelphia centennial – that is, in 1876 – the Mary Washington came under the ownership of Capt. L.L. Blake, and by agreement with the Mount Vernon regents the Mary Washington become one of the Mount Vernon steamboats, the other being the Arrow, which was still commanded by Frank Hollingshead.

Col. Joseph C. McKibbin entered into partnership with Capt. Blake and they bought Marshall Hall, and for some time the Mary Washington was the Mount Vernon and Marshall Hall steamboat.


The Mary Washington was the steamer Douglass took to Mount Vernon in 1878 piloted by Captain Levi Lowell Blake.

(Douglass knew many prominent men who had once been affiliated with steamboats, not the least of the likes of Samuel “Mark Twain” Clemens and P. B. S. Pinchback.)

The Baltimore Sun reported on the 1878 excursion of Frederick Douglass to the home of George Washington, writing:

A very large number of persons accompanied the invited guests to Mt. Vernon, on board the Mary Washington, Capt. L. L. Blake, to whose untiring courtesy very much of the success attending it is owing,

Among the party was Mr. W. W. Corcoran of the board of visitors, after whom the new boat of the association will be named; the Governors of Virginia and West Virginia, with large delegations from their States of ladies and gentlemen; Mr. Rogers, private secretary to President Hayes; Fred. Douglass, Marshal of the District; Judge Chas. B Ball, of Leesburg, Va.; ex-Lieut. Governor Thomas, president of the board of visitors; Col. B. P. Nolan and ex-Congressman Sweat, of Maine.

The council will adjourn to-morrow.


In 1869 Frederick (Bailey) Douglass took the Arrow to Mount Vernon. Over nearly 30 years Douglass visited Mount Vernon several times.

Courtesy of National Park Service, FDNHS.

Note, article & research registered with United States Copyright Office; Library of Congress.

Authorship: JHM & JLM

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“Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Frederick Douglass were men of statecraft and political acumen born during this month of February and their names and anniversaries are kept fresh and green in the thought and memory of the public,” says The Colorado Statesmen, member of the National Negro Press Association


SOURCE:

The Colorado Statesmen, 20 February 1915.

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Walking Tour: Frederick Douglass in Annapolis (February 15, 2020 – 8:15am @ Annapolis City Dock)

FD in Annapolis


Before offering dedicatory remarks at historic Mt. Moriah A.M.E. Church in Annapolis in the mid-1870s, the Honorable Frederick Douglass first witnessed the Maryland State House punctuating the capital city’s skyline as the adolescent enslaved Frederick Bailey on his way to Baltimore from the Eastern Shore.

Upon entering the State House generations later Douglass recited the farewell address Gen. George Washington had delivered nearly a century before, in 1783, upon resigning his military commission to the Confederation Congress in Annapolis.

Learn the lost and unknown history of Frederick Douglass and Maryland’s governors, leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church from Bishop Wayman to Bishop Tanner who impacted the state capital before, during and after the Civil War to students from Annapolis who attended Howard University, where Douglass served the board of trustees, to graduates of the Unites States Naval Academy who saw Douglass off to Haiti where he served the United States State Department.

Tour will be led by the foremost international scholar on the connections, associations, relationships and lost history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in the state of Maryland from Frostburg in Western Maryland’s Allegany County to Salisbury on the Lower Shore’s Wicomico County.


Invitations will be respectfully extended to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, Maryland delegation to the United States Senate and Unites States House of Representatives, every delegate of the Maryland General Assembly, every member of the State Senate, director and staff of the Banneker-Douglass Museum, mayor of Annapolis and city council, as well as directors and staff of several state and county agencies supported by the public treasury to communicate, preserve and promote local history and tourism.

Tour Stars:

Annapolis City Dock

Tour Ends:

Maryland State House


TICKETS HERE ! 

$15General Admission

$10Midshipmen, veterans, law enforcement 


 

** Special Note: Tour on February 15, 2020 will precede the public unveiling of statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass inside the State House. A full program of events will occur in and around Annapolis from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

More information: msa.maryland.gov/msa/homepage/html/upcomingevents.html

The walking tour has been organized independently due the urgency and necessity to return the community history of Frederick Douglass to the community of Annapolis and communities across the state.


JohnMuller HeadShot-300x300 (1)

John Muller, author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia (2012) and Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent (2013) is currently at work on a book about the lost history of Frederick Douglass on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Muller has presented widely throughout the DC-Baltimore metropolitan area at venues including the Library of Congress, Newseum, Politics and Prose, American Library in Paris and local universities. As well, in the past two years he has presented on the “Lost History” of Frederick Douglass in Baltimore, Cambridge, Centreville, Cumberland, Denton, Easton, Frederick, Frostburg, Hagerstown, Salisbury, St. Michaels and other local cities and towns throughout the state of Maryland.

Muller has been featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV and C-SPAN’s American History TV, as well as in the pages of the Star Democrat and the airwaves of WDVM (Hagerstown) NBC4 (Washington), WPFW, WAMU, WYPR and Delmarva Public Radio.

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“Statues of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass a Year Away” [Maryland Matters, Danielle E. Gaines January 21, 2019]

William Alston-El - Frederick Douglass wheat paste on lower MLK

Statues of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass a Year Away

By next year, visitors to the Maryland State House can expect to be greeted in the Old House Chamber by two escaped slaves from Maryland, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.

Work is underway on bronze statues that will depict the abolitionists in the mid-1860s, in the same room where the legislature adopted the Maryland Constitution of 1864, which abolished slavery in the state.

Elaine Rice Bachmann, deputy state archivist, said future visitors to the State House will meet Douglass and Tubman in the Old House Chamber similar to the experience of “encountering” George Washington in the Old Senate Chamber. A new exhibit will interpret what the abolition of slavery meant to Tubman and Douglass, Bachmann said.

Maryland has a checkered history on the Reconstruction Amendments, passing the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery after first passing a “shadow” amendment three years earlier that would have barred the federal government from abolishing slavery. The 14th Amendment – which granted citizenship to former slaves and equal protection under the law – and the 15th Amendment, to ensure the rights of black men to vote, were actively rejected by the state legislature when they were first introduced, only to be symbolically embraced generations later (in 1959 for the 14th and in 1973 for the 15th).

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), an avid historian who lamented the slow process of having the statues installed last week, said showing that history in the State House is important.

“We want a place where the students can walk from the Senate chamber, have their picture taken with George Washington, then walk over to the House chamber and have their picture taken with Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman,” Miller said last week. “…We want to make sure people understand where we were then, where we are today.”

Bachmann met with Miller earlier this month to explain delays with the project and assure him that things were moving forward. Bachmann said part of the delay was due to the state purchasing rules requiring justification for sole-source contracts. The Board of Public Works is scheduled to consider a contract for the overall project, which is expected to cost about $575,477, on Wednesday.

The new target date for the unveiling of the statues and new exhibits is early 2020.

The development of the figures is now underway by New York-based StudioEIS, which created the Old Senate Chamber statue of George Washington resigning his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, which took place in the historic chamber in 1783.

Like the Washington statue, the Tubman and Douglass statues will be lifelike and life-sized depictions of the abolitionists.

The sculptors will have a wealth of historical references to create the statue of Douglass, who is said to be the most photographed 19th-century American.

The Tubman statue will be based on a recently discovered photo of her as a young woman, seated and wearing a long dress, Bachmann said.

Douglass, in a visit to the State House in 1874, saw a painting of Washington resigning his commission and, “walking to and fro in front of it, repeated audibly and with all the force and pathos of his oratorical powers, the General’s eloquent and touching address,” according to an account in The Maryland Republican and State Capital Advertiser.

Miller talked about that moment last week and what the Douglass statue could mean to future students visiting the State House.

“It’s good to see somebody who looks like you here in the chambers as well. Frederick Douglass was here. He stood in the Senate chamber and gave the same speech George Washington gave,” Miller said. But Douglass delivered the message by memory, while Washington used notes, the Senate president added.

A bill poised to pass the Senate this week could speed the process for sole-source bids for such projects in the future. Senate Bill 27 would exempt the acquisition of fine or decorative art by the Maryland State Archives from the state’s procurement rules, making it easier to pursue things like a no-bid contract for items like the Tubman and Douglass statues.

Bachmann said Senate Bill 27 was not prompted by the acquisition of the statues, but would have helped the process move more quickly. The bill expands upon legislation passed in 2017 that exempted other activities by the Archives ― such as contracting for preservation, conservation, care, restoration, and transportation of the state’s artistic property.

The state has been acquiring art since 1781, when the General Assembly commissioned Charles Willson Peale to paint a full-length portrait of George Washington, which currently hangs in the State House.

dgaines@marylandmatters.org

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Frederick Douglass in Paris: A visit to Lafayette’s Tomb; Patriot respect Patriot

It recently came to my attention content from this blog was instrumental in the creation of a “Frederick Douglass in the City of Lights: Walking Tour” created by Princeton University undergraduates (sophomores and juniors) with the guidance of Associate Professor of History Rhae Lynn Barnes.

Drawing largely from my posts about the friendship of Dr. Douglass and journalist-poet Theodore Tilton, the students assembled an impressive, yet abridged, multi-media guide to some of the extant locations Douglass visited while in Paris including a hotel and a cafe.

Evading, however, their scholarly attention, or rather scholarly pilferage, was the visit Douglass and Tilton reportedly made to the present-day 12th arrondissement to pay their respects to the Tomb of General Marquis de Lafayette in the rear of the private Picpus Cemetery.


A Visit to Lafayette’s Tomb

Earlier this week I took ligne 6 to Picpus, a not insignificant distance from the city center and areas where Douglass is known to have frequented in Paris.

Within the short walk down the street and around the corner to the cemetery there were several multi-story developments underway. Construction was happening on a property immediately adjacent to the cemetery while across the street from the large wooden doors to the walled-in cemetery is a Total gas station.

Arriving at the cemetery doors I found myself in the company of two Brits and their friend from Florida. We quickly confirmed our intentions to visit Lafayette’s Tomb; mine for purposes of Douglass while theirs was due an interest in the dual patriot because of his presence in the popular musical Hamilton.

Once inside, the doors closed, the sounds of traffic seemed to fade away. Before us was a pebbled patch leading beyond a house to a large grassy area leading beyond to the Picpus Cemetery to the right.

A groundskeeper kept to himself trimming and clipping a line of rose bushes. By my count a half-dozen free range chickens scurried around under foot watched closely by a rooster in the bushes.

A statue of an archangel preparing to drive a spear through the devil’s head stood by its lonesome. Due the history of the Cimetière de Picpus the sculpture is felicitous.

Once inside the cemetery the noises of nearby children playing in a school yard proved a delightful soundtrack. As I proceeded towards Lafayette’s Tomb I passed numerous graves with dates of interment predating the visit of Dr. Douglass and Theodore Tilton in the winter of 1886 – 1887.

Arriving at Lafayette’s Tomb I paused a moment to pay my respects to a man with credentials of a patriot in two countries. Any Frenchmen who names their son “George Washington Lafayette” is alright to me and mines.

Adorned with a flag-poled Star Spangled Banner and plaques from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Knox Museum (“Very Revolutionary”) and a number of Old Virginia cities there were more than a couple quarters tabled on Lafayette’s Tomb.

Lingering for more than a couple moments I was taken aback with what Lafayette has meant and continues to mean to American citizens.

The decision of Dr. Douglass to visit Lafayette’s Tomb was deliberate.

Man respect man. Patriot respect patriot.

Simple as that.


All photos by Honorable William Alston-El. Copyright strictly enforced online and offline in USA, France and everywhere.

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Editor’s Note:

Special thanks and unconditional love to the Husson Family of Paris and my big brother Alexandre de Paris, an American and French patriot just like General Lafayette.

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Yale announces 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize finalists

Yale announces 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize finalists

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition today has announced the finalists for the 20th annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, one of the most coveted awards for the study of the African American experience. Jointly sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center at Yale University, this annual prize of $25,000 recognizes the best book on slavery, resistance, and/or abolition published in the preceding year.

The finalists are: Daina Ramey Berry for “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation” (Beacon Press); Erica Armstrong Dunbar for “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge” (Simon & Schuster); Sharla M. Fett for “Recaptured Africans: Surviving Slave Ships, Detention, and Dislocation in the Final Years of the Slave Trade” (University of North Carolina Press); and Tiya Miles for “The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits” (The New Press).

The winner will be announced following the Douglass Prize Review Committee meeting in the fall, and the award will be presented at a celebration in New York City on February 28, 2019.

A jury of scholars that included Catherine Clinton (Chair), of University of Texas at San Antonio; Ada Ferrer, of New York University; and Sandra Elaine Greene, of Cornell University selected this year’s finalists from a field of more than 70 nominations.

The jury’s descriptions of the finalists’ books follow.


 

"The Price for Their Pound of Flesh"Daina Ramey Berry’s “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation” is a powerful work which engages scholarship on capitalism and slavery in a way that attempts to center the experience and thinking of the enslaved. Berry meticulously scoured thousands of records to uncover how the price of enslaved people varied by age and gender, offering a nuanced analysis of how capitalism shaped slavery. In an unexpected turn, she investigated the value of the bodies of dead enslaved people, uncovering disturbing detail about the “cadaver trade” and providing one of the few scholarly accounts of this practice. Studies of slavery and capitalism have dominated the field of U.S. history, but until the publication of Berry’s exhaustive study, no scholar has systematically examined how gender shaped this interaction. Her documentation concerning monetization of the flesh (from birth on through auctions and sales, to the trade in cadavers) shines the spotlight on “price” and its multiple meanings. This work contributes to our appreciation of the disguised aspects of slavery’s thrall.


"Never Caught"In “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge,” Erica Armstrong Dunbar tells the unknown story of how George and Martha Washington’s slave, Ona Judge, escaped from slavery. Drawing on a handful of surviving records, Dunbar skillfully manages to capture the full story of Ona Judge’s life. The book succeeds in keeping readers rapt because of the author’s gifted prose and profound ambition. Armstrong’s fluid style is but one of the book’s many virtues. “Never Caught” is not only a fascinating story of one enslaved woman’s daring flight, but also a vivid recreation of black urban life in the early republic. At the same time, this exploration of the mythic George Washington (adding his wife Martha into the mix) teases out stories behind the pillars, behind the masks—to create an imbricated tale which exposes slavery’s ragged and cutting edges. Dunbar has written a history that changes how we think about slavery and abolition, about the enslaved and the manumitted, and about the early republic and George Washington.


"Recaptured Africans"Sharla M. Fett’s “Recaptured Africans: Surviving Slave Ships, Detention, and Dislocation in the Final Years of the Slave Trade” is an outstanding study that focuses on those Africans who were retrieved from slave ships after the criminalization of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and who were then settled temporarily in the United States. Known as recaptives, this group of roughly 1,800 African children, men, and women, were then eventually resettled in West Africa (specifically Liberia) with support from the American Colonization Society. Fett does an excellent job positioning the book in relation to the larger literature on this subject. Her contextualization of the study only encourages the reader to explore the topic in greater depth. The book expands wonderfully on how the recaptives were depicted in public representations and in ethnographic mid-19th-century literature, how these depictions sought to distinguish them from the much longer resident African Americans, and how African American activists defied these efforts by supporting the recaptives and working to redefine them as members of the human family. Fett emphasizes, in particular, the liminal space occupied by the recaptives: how they were treated legally, given both domestic and international political prejudices, but also what the recaptives’ experiences of enslavement were like, and what it meant to them. It is an extremely compelling story, accessible to any interested reader.


"The Dawn of Detroit"Tiya Miles’s “The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits” is a beautifully written and rigorously researched book. The book reveals the enduring centrality of slavery in early Detroit, through French, British, and U.S. rule.  Miles constructs a splendidly layered history in which enslaved Native Americans and African American labor in the fur trade—and on lands originally stolen from the former. The book is an important addition to recent work that stresses the foundational place of slavery in the northern United States, even when laws such as the Northwest Ordinance ostensibly prohibited the extension of slavery to the new territory. While highlighting the reach and power of slavery in Detroit, Miles also beautifully documents the ways in which the enslaved used war, alliances, the law, flight, and other means to challenge their own enslavement. Throughout this riveting text, personal and family stories illustrate and advance a narrative that rewrites our understanding of slavery in the making of the United States.


The Frederick Douglass Book Prize was established by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and Gilder Lehrman Center in 1999 to stimulate scholarship in the field by honoring outstanding accomplishments. Previous winners are Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan in 1999; David Eltis, 2000; David Blight, 2001; Robert Harms and John Stauffer, 2002; Seymour Drescher and James F. Brooks, 2003; Jean Fagan Yellin, 2004; Laurent Dubois, 2005; Rebecca J. Scott, 2006; Christopher Leslie Brown, 2007; Stephanie Smallwood, 2008; Annette Gordon-Reed, 2009; Siddharth Kara, Judith Carney, and Richard N. Rosomoff, 2010; Stephanie McCurry, 2011; James H. Sweet, 2012; Sydney Nathans, 2013; Christopher Hager, 2014; Ada Ferrer, 2015; Jeff Forret, 2016; and Manisha Sinha, 2017.

The award is named for Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), the one-time slave who escaped bondage to emerge as one of the great American abolitionists, reformers, writers, and orators of the 19th century.

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, which is supported by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, was launched in November 1998 through a generous donation by philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Its mission is to advance the study of all aspects of slavery and its destruction across all borders and time. The Center seeks to foster an improved understanding of the role of slavery, slave resistance, abolition, and their legacies in the founding of the modern world by promoting interaction and exchange between scholars, teachers, and public historians through publications, educational outreach, and other programs and events.

For further information on events and programming, visit https://glc.yale.edu/(link is external) or contact the Center by phone at (203) 432-3339 or e-mail gilder.lehrman.center@yale.edu(link sends e-mail).


Founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, visionaries and lifelong supporters of American history education, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the leading American history nonprofit organization dedicated to K-12 education while also serving the general public. With a focus on primary sources, the Gilder Lehrman Institute illuminates the stories, people, and moments that inspire students of all ages and backgrounds to learn and understand more about history. Through a diverse portfolio of education programs, including the acclaimed Hamilton Education Program, the Gilder Lehrman Institute provides opportunities for nearly two million students, 30,000 teachers, and 18,000 schools worldwide. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians.

For further information, visit https://www.gilderlehrman.org/(link is external) or call (646) 366-9666.

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