Posts Tagged music
Dr. Frederick Douglass in Paris, France “wept with joy” upon hearing a “Negro girl” sing “Steal Away To Jesus”
Earlier this month there was an academic conference in Paris focusing on the subject of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass.
Short on scholarship, such as Frederick Douglass in Paris, and long on speculation and “intersectionality,” the gathered assemblage and conference organizers missed a sacred opportunity to uplift and advance lost history.
Attentive scholars of Dr. Douglass, of which there are woefully few, know how important Paris was to Dr. Douglass. I need not offer further details, whereas material published on this blog has been properly and improperly cited in David Blight’s book, as well as used by other Ivy League professors.
I know folks who claim to be Douglass scholars but are limited in their scholarship and therefore more restricted in their interpretations take material on this blog to use as their own.
As a street historian my orientation is similar to Dr. John Creighton in that the information and research should be available to the public. As a result of this blog more than a couple family historians as well as others have reached out to me. As a result of this blog many dialogues have occurred and collaborative friendships commenced.
This folks who put together the #DouglassInParis conference have no personal nor intellectual integrity. In a forthcoming blog post I will detail why and how the conference was an embarrassment but for now I present further unknown and unpublished scholarship on #DouglassInParis …
The Fisk Jubilee Singers made Gladstone weep and praise, and once when Fred Douglass was in Paris a reception was given him, and behind closed doors they had a Negro girl who was attending a school of musical culture, and when Mr. Douglass was at the highest pitch of jollity forth came the sweet melody of “Steal Away to Jesus,” and all was silent.
Finally Douglass said, “No one can sing that way but my people.”
The folding doors opened wide, and there stood a Negro girl with arms outstretched wide.
Douglass advanced without an introduction, embraced her and wept with joy.
Trademarked research not to be purloined by Princeton undergraduates or condescending and snide professors.
Dr. Frederick Douglass: “Sometimes … I lay me dear, old fiddle aside, and listen to the soft, silent, distant music of other days, which, in the hush of my spirit, I still find lingering somewhere in the mysterious depths of my soul.”
“I sometimes (at long intervals) try my old violin; but after all, the music of the past and of imagination is sweeter than any my unpracticed and unskilled bow can produce. So I lay my dear, old fiddle aside, and listen to the soft, silent, distant music of other days, which, in the hush of my spirit, I still find lingering somewhere in the mysterious depths of my soul.”
Holland, Frederic May. Frederick Douglass: The Colored Orator (1895 edition), p. 335.