Posts Tagged journalists
“The Radical Friendship of T. Thomas Fortune and Frederick Douglass” (February 8, 2020 in Red Bank, New Jersey)
— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —
December 19, 2019
“The Radical Friendship of T. Thomas Fortune and Frederick Douglass”
Saturday, February 8, 2020
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Thomas Fortune Foundation and Cultural Center
94 Drs James Parker Boulevard
Red Bank, New Jersey 07701
Paramount to the study and discussion of the history of American Journalism, and the pantheon of the Black Press, are the careers and contributions of Frederick Douglass and T. Thomas Fortune.
Douglass took an active role mentoring and supporting Timothy Thomas Fortune, forty years his junior, while a law student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in the 1870s. With the development of the first national organization for African-American journalists and editors, Douglass and Fortune worked side by side. Sharing platform stages in cities from Virginia to New Jersey, Douglass and Fortune developed a friendship across generations and geography. In 1892 Fortune visited Cedar Hill, the Washington, D.C. home of Douglass, and wrote one of the most revealing and personal newspaper profiles of the Lion of Anacostia.
Visit the recently opened T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, a National Historic Landmark, to hear locally and internationally known Douglassonian scholar and author John Muller, with thought-provoking detail, present about their their relationship discussed through primary sources, including an 1886 letter in which Fortune wrote to Douglass: “I shall hope always to be remembered among your friends …”
Q&A will follow what promises to be a memorable one-hour presentation.
**Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served availability. While online registration is free, there will be a suggested donation to support ongoing activities and operations of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. ***
$10 — General Admission / $5 — Seniors, Students, Veterans, Journalists & Teachers
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), has presented widely throughout the DC-Baltimore metropolitan area at venues including the Library of Congress, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Newseum, American Library in Paris, Enoch Pratt Library, DC Public Library, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and local universities. Muller is a frequent guest on Washington, D.C. radio stations and has been cited by the Washington Post, Washington City Paper and other publications for his local history research and subject expertise. He is currently working on a book about the lost history of Frederick Douglass on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Muller has been featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV and C-SPAN’s American History TV, as well as in the pages of the Washington Post, airwaves of NBC4 (Washington) and radio stations WPFW (DC), WAMU (DC), WYPR (Baltimore) and Delmarva Public Radio (Eastern Shore).
For the past decade Muller has contributed hundreds of articles to local and national print and online news sources, including the Washington Informer.
The T. Thomas Fortune Foundation is an organization comprised of concerned citizens from New Jersey, some of whom have been working together since 2008 to bring awareness to the plight of the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Landmark, located at 94 Drs. James Parker Blvd. in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Over the years, we have held fundraisers, T. Thomas Fortune Symposium, a few “People Speak” events, Fortune birthday celebrations and made many school and public library presentations.
We are grateful for all the support we have received since the opening of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on May 30, 2019. We are anticipating Mr. Muller’s presentation to provide a greater historical perspective on the collaborative work and relationship of T. Thomas Fortune and Frederick Douglass.
For more information on T. Thomas Fortune Foundation and Cultural Center visit: https://www.tthomasfortuneculturalcenter.org/
Facebook Event Registration:
Congratulations to the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on the upcoming opening!
For nearly the past decade I have written for and contributed to several Washington area print and online publications including but not limited to The Washington Times, Washington City Paper, Washington Informer, East of the River, Greater Greater Washington, DCist, Huffington Post and The Washington Post.
In this time I’ve come to know many local journalists and local editors.
Dr. Frederick Douglass was a journalist and editor emeritus for a half-century. Before launching the North Star in December of 1847 Douglass contributed reportage and commentary to several newspapers.
Dr. Douglass ran with them all. In the pages of Dr. Douglass’ various papers are the bylines of legions of journalists, historians, activists and radicals that have been forgotten in the pages of history due the incessant genuflecting and mythologizing.
To understand and body forth the scholarship that is needed to truly uplift the history of Dr. Douglass and all those he ran with will take generations.
The work must be done. Dr. Douglass did the work and all those he worked with did the work.
GATH on Dr. Frederick Douglass: “Fred. Douglass comes from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and has a good oystery nature about him. He opens up well.” (1872)
Street journalists stick together today as they have forever.
As the most radical journalist birthed in America Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass ran with fellow street journalists.
Although largely forgotten today, George Alfred Townsend was a fellow Eastern Shoreman who ran alongside Editor Douglass and within similar circles of radical Reconstruction Washington City journalists.
For decades GATH tracked and chronicled America’s Pharaoh. GATH shared a mutual affection for the naturalism of Chesapeake Country with Dr. Douglass.
They corresponded. GATH stepped through Cedar Hill.
As radical journalists and Eastern Shoremen Gath and Dr. Douglass were brothers in ink and tidewater.
In late 1872, following the re-election of Republican President Grant over challenger, radical newspaperman and Liberal Republican, Horace Greeley, GATH dropped some words that were circulated throughout the country.
Fred. Douglass and Langston are set down in the papers as not loving each other overmuch. This Langston is an unreliable, nearly-white fellow, with considerable ability at phrase making and not much sense. He is ever lasting in search of office, and Douglass, who is a well-ordered man, with a round head, is reported to have gone to President Grant and snubbed Langston’s aspirations.
Langston’s notion was that the colored race should have some Cabinet position, because it had voted for Grant, and he had constructed himself into the representative of the colored race as aforesaid.
Douglass had sense enough to know that color is a pretty mean qualification, except for matrimony, and that Langston would make a donkey of himself in whatever position he could get.
Fred. Douglass comes from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and has a good oystery nature about him. He opens up well.
Muller, John. The Lion of Anacostia (Blog), “GATH on Dr. Frederick Douglass: Fred. Douglass comes from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and has a good oystery nature about him. He opens up well.” 14 September, 2018
Frederick Douglass, Rochester Quakers and Social Reforms in the 19th Century (Sunday, August 5, 2018)
Quaker historian Judith Wellman and Justin Murphy of the Democrat and Chronicle will discuss Douglass’ Quaker connections in Rochester and his role in desegregating Rochester’s public schools. David Shakes will recite portions of Douglass’ speeches, and historian David Anderson will be honored for his career’s work on Douglass.
84 Scio St. (Map)
Sunday, August 5, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Dr. Frederick Douglass ran with them all. They all ran with Dr. Frederick Douglass.
William Cooper Nell, Martin Delany, Julia Griffiths, Mary Ann Shadd and others are often identified as editing and/or corresponding for The North Star and/or subsequent publications edited by Douglass but have you heard of Dr. William Henry Johnson?
From his 1900 biography …
During the first year of the Civil War he was the war correspondent of James Redpath’s “Pine and Palm,” published at Boston, Mass. He was first with the Army of the Potomac during the three month’s campaign. He then joined the Burnside expedition and did service in North Carolina. At times he has been the Albany correspondent of Frederick Douglass’ Rochester paper, “The North Star,” the “Christian Recorder,” Philadelphia “The Freeman,” and “The Age,” New York city, and the “State Republican,” Plainfield, New Jersey. In 1892 he published and edited “The Calcium Light,” an independent journal, at Albany, and to-day, at intervals is publishing “The Albany Capital.”
Foreign Press comes through el barrio de Anacostia to show love to señor Douglass! La Vanguardia: “El esclavo que cumplió 200 años: Estados Unidos celebra el bicentenario del carismático líder abolicionista negro Frederick Douglass”
El nombre del señor Frederick Douglass toca las campanas de un vecindario a otro en todo el país. Desde Anacostia hasta Barcelona, el mundo reconoce la importancia de Douglass para los pueblos amantes de la libertad en todas partes.
Agradecemos a la señorita Beatriz Navarro del periódico La Vanguardia por su generoso informe sobre el cumpleaños número dos centenario del abolicionista reconocido internacionalmente y padre fundador del Movimiento por los Derechos Civiles de los Estados Unidos.
When Frederick August Washington Bailey came into the world, no one expected one day to celebrate his birthday. “Most of the slaves know as little of their age as the horses of theirs,” he would write years later in his autobiography. Two hundred years later, the United States pays tribute to one of its most important leaders, a slave who escaped his destiny to become a charismatic abolitionist leader, writer, speaker and civil rights activist and women in particular. He was photographed more than President Abraham Lincoln himself.
Reborn as Frederick Douglass, he chose his date of birth on February 14, because his mother, the few times he saw him, told him it was “his Valentine.” He was born a slave in Maryland in 1818 and raised with his maternal grandmother. At the age of eight, he was taken to work on a plantation and, later, in a shipyard in Baltimore, where he learned to read and write on his own. At age 20, he managed to escape using the papers of a black sailor to get on a train and go north, an adventure that was for a long time a secret so as not to harm those who helped him. His flight was due “more to good luck than to bravery,” he explained years later.
He adopted the surname Douglass, married a freed slave in New York, and settled in Massachusetts. There he began to frequent the circuit of abolitionist politicians, whom he impressed with his story of the horrors of slavery and his oratory skills. In 1845 he published the first of his three autobiographies, a best seller that made him fear being caught. He took refuge in England and Ireland, where he dealt with Daniel O’Connell, until two years later some followers bought his freedom for 150 pounds and returned to the US. as a free man.
Douglass immediately understood the power of the image and posed frequently for portraits, in which he presented himself as whites, elegantly dressed and in an attitude of work. It retains more original images of him than Lincoln, which has earned him the title of “most photographed American of the nineteenth century.” He traveled throughout the country, directed a newspaper that he used as a platform for his ideas and pressured Lincoln to allow blacks to fight for the Union in the civil war. After the abolition of slavery, he dedicated himself to “the most difficult battle,” the struggle for equal rights.
Between 1871 and 1891, he held various public offices, including minister for Haiti (he was the first African-American confirmed for an official appointment by the Senate). In 1876 he became marshal of Washington DC (head of the local police) and settled in the neighborhood of Anacostia, today one of the poorest. The house, Cedar Hill, became a hotbed of political activity. Today a Douglass double greets visitors at the door who come to know the place where the iconic leader ended his days in 1895, married in second marriage with a white one.
Donald Trump disconcerted the country a few months ago by talking about Douglass as if he were alive: “It is an example of someone who has done an amazing job and who is being recognized more and more,” he said. Trump’s blunder is “representative of the lack of general knowledge of the country about the significance of this historical figure,” says John Muller,” author of a biography of Douglass (The Lion of Anacostia),”but it is welcome if it helps that the people pay more attention.” The bicentennial, he says, has a special meaning in the current political context but “it makes no sense to think about what Douglass would have thought or said.”
Ascribed to the Republicans, no one disputes his legacy but his figure is sometimes the object of a dispute between conservatives and democrats, who disagree about how religious or patriotic he might be, given his sharp criticisms of the country, especially before the abolition of slavery. “As a people, Americans know very well all the facts that favor them,” he said in 1852. Some consider this a national trait, perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact that everything that enriches his reputation and is easy to find, will be found by the Americans.”
Translation provided by Google Translate. Original article in Spanish available HERE!
“Douglass’ college ties extended far and wide,” Letter to the Editor of the Star Democrat, February 1, 2018 [Paper of Record of Maryland’s Eastern Shore]
As an adolescent I ran with great-great grandsons of runaway fugitive slave-scholars. As a young Douglassonian I studied the work of GATH and Dickson J. Preston, two classic role models in the advanced Classics of Douglassoniana Studies.
I thank old school journalists and the editors and staff of the Star Democrat for understanding that if we don’t have accuracy in our reporting we have nothing.
It’s about respecting Dr. Douglass.
He is a native son of your soil and your pork. The mental and physical muscles Douglass stretched to escape slavery were first flexed on the Eastern Shore.
[WC press release and “belief” not factually corrected as of 12 noon, February 1, 2018.]
Colored Press Convention meets at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church w/ Frederick Douglass, William Calvin Chase, Ferdinand Barnett, T. Thomas Fortune, Richard T. Greener and others attend
If we are to celebrate Frederick Douglass’ Bicentennial I advance that we recognize the full measure of his life. Yes, he is known as a runaway slave who rose to advise more than a half-dozen United States Presidents but let us not be so limited in our understanding of Douglass. Lest us not forgot the lesser-known Douglass, such as editor Douglass.
Ranger Nate Johnson at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site knows and has presented on Douglass as a journalist and an editor.
In our ongoing research on Douglass, we are continuously interested in his unsung and largely unknown role as Editor Emeritus of the Colored Press (today known as the Black Press).
One small item we found in a June 1882 edition of the National Republican lists Douglass in attendance of the second day of proceedings for the Colored Press Convention at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, near 15th and R Streets NW. This was Rev. Grimke’s home church.
Other journalists attending were T. Thomas Fortune, Benjamin T. Tanner (founder of the Christian Recorder), Ferdinand L. Barnett, William C. Chase of the Washington Bee, W. A. Pledger of Atlanta and Richard T. Greener, a past editor and contributor to the New National Era.
Occasionally original Douglass documents turn up on Ebay and other online auction sites. This letter is for sale for $8,995.00.
Here’s the description:
Autograph Letter Signed (ALS), “Fredk. Douglass,” one page on Cedar Hill letterhead, 5” x 8”, July 20, 1888. Letter to Magnus L. Robinson, an African-American journalist and newspaper editor.
In full: “I am very sorry that I cannot serve you. I have already taken an interest in the People’s Advocate and promised to press its claims upon the National Republican Committee otherwise I would be glad to serve the National Republican Leader.” In Fine condition, with uniform toning. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA.
A month prior to writing this letter, Douglass attended the Republican National Convention to speak out in support of John Sherman for the presidency. With his primary focus on a strong civil rights platform, he did ultimately campaign for nominee Benjamin Harrison, after the latter supported an item calling for federal protection of black citizens’ voting rights. Interestingly, Douglass himself received a single vote for the presidential nomination while at the Convention—the first African-American to earn the distinction. Also of note are the two prominent African-American newspapers that Douglas mentions in this letter: Robinson’s The National Leader and John W. Cromwell’s The People’s Advocate. Having just been founded in January, Robinson’s paper was still getting off the ground, certainly his reason for reaching out to Douglass for support. A fantastic letter referring to the 1888 Republican National Convention, with significant content regarding the civil rights movement and the voice of the African-American community.