Posts Tagged National Republican
Frederick Douglass, Jr. letter to Simon Wolf & Simon Wolf letter to Frederick Douglass, Jr. (National Republican, 22 May, 1869)
THE QUESTION OF COLOR.
Application for a Clerkship from Frederick Douglass, jr.
Yesterday Simon Wolf, esq., the newly appointed register of deeds, received the following letter from Frederick Douglass, jr., a brother of Mr. Douglass, at the Government office, (and not the “colored printer at the Government office,” as erroneously stated in the Star of yesterday.) The letter will be read with interest at this time:
Washington, D.C., May 21, 1869.
Simon Wolf, esq., Register of Deeds:
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to request an appointment as clerk in the office of which you have the distinguished honor to be the head. I belong to that despised class which has not been known in the field of applicants for position under the Government heretofore. I served my country during the war, under the colors of Massachusetts, my own native State, and am the son of a man (Frederick Douglass) who was once held in a bondage protected by the laws of this nation; a nation, the perpetuity of which, with many others of my race, I struggled to maintain. I am by trade a printer, but in consequence of combinations entered into by printers’ unions throughout the country, I am unable to obtain employment at it. I therefore hope that you will give this, my application, the most favorable consideration.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FREDERICK DOUGLASS, JR.
To this letter Register Wolf made the following reply:
Washington, D.C., May 21, 1869.
Your application is before me, and has received favorable consideration. I see no reason in the world why you or your race should not have the full countenance in the struggle for progress and education, and I am particularly happy in being the means of encouraging you; for, as a descendant of a race equally maligned and prejudged, I have a feeling of common cause; and who can foresee but what the stone the builders reject may become the head stone of our political and social structure.
“The Question of Color,” 22 May, 1869. The National Republican, 1.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY. Views of Fred. Douglass Upon the Proposed Changes in its Management [National Republican., June 24, 1875, p. 4.]
Views of Fred. Douglass Upon the Proposed Changes in its Management
The Washington correspondent of the Chicago Inter-Ocean, after giving an account of the decision of the board of trustees of Howard University at its late meeting in deciding upon a change in its conduct and transforming it into a congregational institution, comments as follows:
This action was strongly opposed by all the colored members of the board, who look upon the movement with suspicion, and as being, if nothing worse, a flagrant departure from the original design of the university, and very inimical to its success. The vote was divided strictly on the color line. Professor Langston, at present acting president, being the choice of the colored trustees for president.
In conversation with Fred Douglass, this morning, he showed considerable feeling. He said the colored people had considered this the only one institution in the nation where they could educate their children without fear of prejudice. It had been established for them, and largely with their money, and it was no more than fit and proper, in his opinion, that they should control it. The original plan of the institution was that it should be exclusively for colored people, and as fast as colored men were educated they should be established in the professorships and trustees’ chairs; and further, that it be entirely unsectarian and embrace all branches of learning. He had hoped soon to see medicine, engineering and other professions added to its already established branches of theology and law, but this movement would defeat all such plans, and the financial interests would be controlled by the same men who had injured the prospects of the colored race in the unfortunate management of the Freedman’s Bank. Mr. Douglass had no complaint against the new president, Dr. Whipple. He was a wise and good man; but the moral effect of the change would be bad. He hoped to see the institution ultimately restored to the original control, but the new management would have one year, till the next annual meeting of the trustees, for the experiment.
Frederick Douglass attends first Union Alumni Association of Howard University and toasts “self-made men”, [National Republican, Feb 27, 1886]
Frederick Douglass was a self-made man about town during his years in Washington. He was a frequent guest of the White House the through various Presidential administrations after the Civil War, he served as adviser to both black and progressive white Senators and Congress men, he often attended and lectured at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, helping to raise money. In between his multiple speaking engagements and travels around the country, Douglass served on the Board of Trustees of Hoard University for nearly a quarter century. On behalf of the University Douglass raised money though appeals to Congress and outreach to the same network of institutions and person that had supported him during his abolitionist efforts before the war.
Douglass’ service to Howard University has been woefully overlooked in the evaluation of his enduring legacy to the city. Through his advocacy and championing of the city’s public colored school system and his lasting contributions to Howard University, Douglass was a steadfast, relentless advocate of equal education efforts for black Washingtonians. His record of charity should no longer be minimized, discarded as an after thought. Douglass service should be explored as a source of pride to the early importances of the education of both freedmen and their children in Washington, DC.
In late February 1886 Howard University, then almost two decades since its charter, recognized its growing network of alumni with its first annual banquet. Douglass attended and was asked to speak. Often called to deliver the featured address, here he offered a toast.
Hon. Frederick Douglass was selected to respond to the toast “Self-made Men.”
“I am not opposed to personalities,” said Mr. Douglass, “even when they are employed in the form of delicate insinuation. I think I see something of this offense in the call upon me to respond in behalf of self-made men. If you mean to insinuate that I am not a gentlemen and a scholar, like others around this delightful board, I resent the calumny, and prove my title to be here by the card with “LL. D.” in large letters, affixed with my name. But Mr. President, I will not, where I am so well-known, attempt to pass myself off for what I am not. I plead guilty at once to the implied charges. Upon the whole, I am rather proud of it, and in this last remark, you will perhaps say that I betray my peculiar origin, for of all men in the world, self-made men are the product of the attainments. Henry Clapp once said on Horace Greeley that he was a self-made man and worshipped his maker. Properly speaking, there are no self-made men in the world. Sidney Smith once said, while speaking of repudiation, that he never saw an American that he did not feel like stripping him, giving his hat to one creditor, his cost to another, and his books to another. So I may say of all self-made men. They have all begged, borrowed,, or stolen. There never was a self-made man, however well made, who would not have been better made with the same exertion by the ordinary helps of schools and colleges. Nevertheless, self-made men are entitled to a large measure of credit. They rise often, not only without favoring circumstances, but in decisive defiance of all efforts to keep them down.
“Flung overboard on the broad ocean of life, without oars or life preservers, they bravely buffet the billows by their own sinewy arms, and swim in safety where other men, supplied with all the appliances which wealth and power can give, despair and go down. Such men as these, whether we find them at home or abroad, whether professors of plowmen, whether of Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-African origin, are self-made men, and are entitled to some respect because of their manly origin. It is the glory of the United States that such men are abundant. America is the nursery of such men. The explanation of the abundances is found in two facts: First, the respectability of labor, and secondly, the fact we have no privileged classes. We throw every man upon his own resources. We care not who was his father, or who was his mother.”
We ask not for his lineage,
We ask not for his name;
It manliness be in his heart,
He noble birth may claim.
We ask not from what land he came,
Nor where his youth was nursed;
It pure the stream, it matters not
The spot from whence it burst
President William W. Patton then responded to the sentiment, “Howard University.” He congratulated the alumni on the interest they showed in their alma mater. He passed a tribute on the founder of the university. The college was founded on the broadest principles and educated every one without regards to sex or race. The university has done a grand work, and in nineteen years or existence 3,000 students have been admitted to the various departments, and there have sent forth 250 ministers of Christianity, about the same number of lawyers, and over 400 physicians. The university has now survived the dangers of infancy, the opposition of foes, the indifference of the prejudiced, and the reverses of financial disasters. Its property to-day free from debt and the 420 students are making progress. The university has a promising future. Public bodies and private benefactors feel safe in aiding a permanent and successful institution. Students in all parts of the country are learning of the advantages which the university offers, and at present thirty states are represented among them.
NOTE: At the time of the address there were thirty-eight states in the country, and Washington, DC as the Federal District, which had been sending students to the University since its earliest days.