Posts Tagged Johns Hopkins
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.
Earlier this month at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore I attended a presentation by Douglassonian Studies scholar Dr. Lawrence Jackson of Johns Hopkins University.
Attentive and insightful historians can easily distinguish speculation from scholarship. Unfortunately, in the nascent field of Douglassonian Studies speculation stills reigns.
Fortunately and thankfully there is yet hope.
Using Census records, maps, pamphlets, newspapers, city directories and other scholarly resources Prof. Jackson introduced information gleaned from the creation of four interactive digital maps using GIS software. Jackson collaborated with his students, passing on the Douglassonian tradition, to generate these maps.
According to an online article about the project Jackson led, “Working with the Maryland Historical Society, the four students combed archives, old newspapers, and census records to trace Douglass’ pathways in the 1820s and ’30s. Then, with JHU’s Sheridan Libraries, they used the ArcGIS digital mapping platform to construct a visual narrative.”
Having attended dozens of Douglass discussions, panels and lectures over the years I can state beyond metaphysical certitude that, along with other scholars such as Prof. Leigh Fought, Zoe Trodd, Celeste-Marie Bernier and Morgan State doctoral candidate Candace Jackson Gray, Prof. Jackson is advancing Douglass scholarship to areas of previously unexplored terrain.
“Frederick Bailey of Baltimore” was an original, engaging, thoughtful and revealing discussion of the early years and experiences of Frederick Bailey in Baltimore as told through new sources of scholarship.
We commend Prof. Jackson and hope to see, hear and read more of his work on Douglass in the near future.