Posts Tagged James Wormley

Frederick Douglass hosts Liberian officials in Uniontown [Evening Star, 25 June 1880]

In the late 19th century, while Frederick Douglass lived in Anacostia, scores of notable men and women came to Cedar Hill. In conversation Monday with Mr. Donet D. Graves, Esq. about his ancestor James Wormley, I learned of a dinner Douglass held hosting officials from Liberia.

For Douglassonian scholars this should be of some intrigue because Douglass was forceful in his denunciation of “colonization” efforts throughout his life. Without getting too much into the specific history of Liberia or “colonization” efforts both nationally and in the District, I only learned a couple years ago that there was such a concentration of black Marylanders in Liberia that there was a republic named “Maryland” in Liberia. Maps of Africa from the late 18th century – early 19th century regularly reflect this. Today there is a county in Liberia named Maryland.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Without further delay, here’s the brief news item.

MARSHALL DOUGLASS entertained at dinner at his residence, at Uniontown, yesterday afternoon. Dr. E. W. Blyden, minister of Liberia to England, and Hon. John H. Smythe, U.S. minister resident to Liberia, at which dinner were also present Senator Bruce, Prof. Greener, L. H. Douglass, Robert Parker, James Wormley, Fred. Douglass, jr., and Charles Douglass.

SOURCE:

Evening Star. 25 June 1880, p. 1 Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Thank you to Donet D. Graves, Esq., a gentleman and scholar, for this helpful lead.

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1866 City Directory _ “JAMES WORMLEY, CATERER” [Ad in the beginning pages before Title Page]

1866_ad for 'James Wormely, Caterer

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READ! “The Talented Mr. James Wormley” by Streets of Washington

James Wormley was a confidant of Frederick Douglass during his years in Washington. Wormley and Douglass dined together. Wormley was featured and praised in the pages of the New National Era. Wormley was a pallbearer for Anna Murray Douglass’ funeral. (Wormley was also, reportedly, by President Lincoln’s side as he died in the Petersen House.)

For more information on Mr. Wormley read author John DeFerrari’s recent post on Streets of Washington HERE!

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New National Era; short sketches of prominent “Colored Men of Washington” (May 1871)

In this May 1871 front page of The New National Era four prominent Washington, DC “antecedents of Mr. Frederick Douglass” from various industries are afforded short sketches.

These men include lawyer John Mercer Langston, businessmen James Wormley, Sr., cashier of the Freedman’s Savings Bank William J. Wilson, and physician Alexander Thomas Augusta.

A quick note to all the Wikipedia editors out there — Wormley’s personal page here and his hotel’s page here are lacking.

But Wormely is far from forgotten. A new book,  A Free Man of Color and His Hotel, Race, Reconstruction, and the Role of the Federal Government was published earlier this year. As well, Donet D. Graves, a Wormley descendant, has been in town of late speaking on the untold narrative of the role the Wormley family played in the civic, political, cultural, and economic life of Washington, DC.

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