Posts Tagged Newspapers
Did you know Dr. Frederick Douglass was appointed a “member of the District School Board”? I didn’t. (Rochester Union & Advertiser, August 1874)
During his life Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass lived many lives, visited many places, made many friends and contributed his time and influence to many associations, organizations and causes. There is much of Dr. Douglass and his life untold by any biographers, especially those who are “experts” in speculation, not interpretation or fact.
An area of scholarship untouched by modern scholars, buried deep within the Journal of Negro Education, is Dr. Douglass and Education. It is one of a dozen or so areas of scholarship that has remained at least three time zones beyond the attention of inquisitive and investigatory scholars. No longer.
On a recent trip to Rochester’s Central Library I reviewed microfilm rolls of local newspapers that have yet to be digitized. The tried and true method of cross-checking indexes has stood the test of time.
Brandon Fess and other staff of the Rochester Central library were very helpful in locating a number of news clips containing information never seen before in my six or so years of closely surveying the field of Douglass Studies.
One of the more interesting items discovered was a paragraph from a late August 1874 edition of the Union and Advertiser mentioning the appointment of Dr. Douglass to the DC Board of Education, which at that time maintained a segregated system for “white” students and “colored” students.
I can’t recall coming across this before or a similar item which documents the early involvement and activism of Dr. Douglass within the DC public school system. Many know Charles Douglass was a principal and/or night school instructor in Barry Farm.
I do not believe there is a living scholar, other than Kimberly Springle of the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, who has attempted to look under this gigantic boulder of Douglass Studies.
Thanks to a tip from collaborative Douglassonian David Turk of the US Marshal Service I discovered Douglass was appointed, but did not formally accept, a position on the Board of Police Commissioners. I had not known know about Douglass and the school board.
Now I know, as do you. There is much research to be done to uplift the history of Dr. Douglass.
To be continued …
LOOK! Douglassonian Muralist Shawn Dunwoody debuts distinctive Dr. Frederick Douglass, Editor Emeritus of Radical Journalists, “Each One … Teach One!”
This past weekend in Rochester, New York on the ground once the homestead of the Anna & Frederick Douglass family indigenous Douglassonian and polymath Shawn Dunwoody, with helping hands from local students and community volunteers, created the most distinctive and modern Frederick Douglass murals in the known world.
Deviating from traditional form, Dunwoody has enlivened Dr. Douglass and brought him to life anew.
I am familiar with murals in my areas and have studied Prof. Zoe Trodd’s expansive documentation of Douglass murals internationally.
In my estimation, this mural is most revolutionary in its presentation of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass as Editor Emeritus of Radical Journalists.
Therefore it is my personal favorite.
Dr. Benjamin Quarles speaks on Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass [Christian Science Monitor, 11 February, 1974]
So intense was Douglass’s devotion to the fight for human equality that both historians [Blassingame and Quarles] consider him perhaps the most versatile of all black leaders, past and present. …
Says Dr. Quarles: “Mr. Douglass’s technique of protest is as relevant today as it was when he lived. He subscribed with Lincoln to the Declaration of Independence. He was a freedom fighter in the complete sense. Any movement that claims to fight for freedom and equality for everyone embraces the ideals of Douglass.
“He was more than a black leader,” Professor Quarles continues, “for he moved across racial lines in his quest for freedom. He was one of the only men who took part in the first women’s convention in Seneca, N.Y., in 1848. Wherever there was injustice he would raise his voice in protest.
“Why the day he died in 1895,” says Dr. Quarles, “he had come to Washington, D.C. to address a women’s rights meeting.”
Douglass is a timeless figure, unlike so many other leaders who have followed him, Professor Quarles says. There is no movement of the ’60’s and ’70’s – student, racial, women, peace – in which he would not have been involved.
One of the achievements of Frederick Douglass, Dr. Quarles conteds, was the man’s sense of direction exemplified in his ability to rise from humble begginings to a status where he won the respect of the kings and presidents, remaining ever mindful of from whence he came and how much further all mankind has to go to achieve freedom.
The antecedents of Douglass all adopted or embraced some form of his philosphy as their own, Dr. Quarles says. …
Narrower concentration, however, is what Dr. Quarles feels separates Frederick Douglass from those who follow him. Some leaders, he says. concentrated on one reform and their best to assert their own personalities.
“In black life there are so many different ways to be black and be a reformer, the professor explains.
“Douglass,” he says, ” took on a wide range of interests, moving often among whites. He was more spacious.” …
“Douglass will recede in importance when our other great American heroes recede,” he says. “Even though Douglass addressed himself, as many of the others, to a 19th-century world, the principles for which he stood are eternal. It’s human spirit at its best, not at its medicore.
“History is a living thing,” he continues. “Frederick Douglass lives today because his ideals are our ideals. We still want to fight injustice and inequality in the order of things.”
selected excerpt of “Frederick Douglass: As Black History Week commences, …”. The Christian Science Monitor. February 11, 1974. Written by Jeannye Thornton.
Vertical Files, Frederick Douglass. Enoch Pratt Free Library, Maryland Room.
As the District’s warrior on The Hill, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, has said, “Frederick Douglass was so local he is current.”
Although specifically speaking about Dr. Douglass as a Washingtonian, Congresswoman Norton’s remarks are applicable to Dr. Douglass as a Rochesterian.
By many accounts Dr. Douglass was self-conscious of his image. That Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th century has been the focus of many researchers, resulting in thorough scholarship by Zoe Trodd and Celeste-Marie Bernier.
Dr. Douglass is and was vogue. By many accounts he was witty and dashing. He could attend a convention where new women’s fashions were presented in the morning and by the evening deliver a lecture about the Fugitive Slave Law.
The two below accounts telling revealing stories of Douglass as an intellectually and culturally expansive young activist in Rochester’s Corinthian Hall.
The honor paid to the memory of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, by the dedication of his monument, have been the means of reviving many anecdotes of him.
Here are two given by the Post-Express:
They were greeted with shouts of ridicule from a portion of the audience bent on making a disturbance. After the principal speakers had addressed the audience the president asked if anyone present wished to speak.
Frederick Douglass had been seen to enter and take a seat, and, upon this invitation from the platform, there were cries for “Douglass” from the disturbing element.
Mr. Douglass rose slowly and with great deliberation said: “This is a matter to which I have paid little attention, as I have been busy with matters I consider more important. I am not sure that I am in favor of the proposed reform in women’s dress, but,” pointing to the men and boys who had been hooting, “I see that you have the earmarks of a reform, the shouts of ridicule, satire and derision of the lower and baser element.”
On another occasion when he was hurling out an anathema in Corinthian hall against the fugitive-slave bill, he said: “Is there a man here who dares to say he has the right to sell his brother?”
A voice clearly responded: “I do.”
In an instant, every eye saw the speaker – the finger of Douglass pointed him out as he stood, one of the outermost tier, outlined against the white background.
“Then,” said Douglass in withering tones, “turn your face to the wall.”
“Table Talk.” Northwestern Christian Advocate, 5 July, 1899, p. 36.
Legacy of “Fake Fred” still active by used car salesman Lou Fields; Banneker-Douglass Museum forsakes sacred history of Dr. Frederick Augustus Washington (Bailey) Douglass, Point Boy, Eastern Shoreman, fugitive slave-scholar, Lion of Anacostia, America’s Pharaoh
For generations the family of Frederick Douglass and the significant Bailey tribe of Maryland’s Eastern Shore have maintained an honorable forward-facing dignity in the face of sustained public affronts by outsiders seeking to profiteer and exploit their family.
In the Bicentennial year the vapors of “Fake Fred” remain more than a decade after the Washington Post published an article responding to years of protest and concern from the blood Douglass family that Frederick I. Douglas, masquerading for more than a decade as Frederick Douglass IV, was defaming their family name’s history and heritage.
In the 1990s when “Fake Fred” was walking Fells Point he hipped Lou Fields how to use the techniques of a used car salesman to exploit the history of Frederick Douglass.
“Fake Fred” still exists out there somewhere, drifting, exposed after decades as a complete and utter fraud. Blessedly, “Fake Fred” is no longer defrauding individuals, institutions and receiving thousands of dollars to spread lies at some of this country’s most elite universities.
In the 2007 Washington Post article Lou Fields was non-committal on his running mate, his fellow thief in the night who taught him the con game.
Louis Fields, with whom Douglas worked on a Frederick Douglass tourism project, says he never asked for documentation from Douglas.
“Everybody has their version of the truth,” says Fields, founder of Baltimore Black Heritage Tours, “and right now, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt, because I don’t have proof that says he is who he says he is or that he isn’t.”
“Fake Fred” was introduced by President Bush on two occasions as a Douglass descendant, lauded by Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley and paid big coin to speak at universities across the country, including Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Institute, directed by dishonorable and speculative racist David Blight.
Lou Fields was taught the exploitation hustle scheme by “Fake Fred.” I hear Fields was loyal to “Fake Fred” until the bitter end.
Whereas “Fake Fred” was banished Lou Fields is still being sanctioned by the Banneker-Douglass Museum, the official museum of African American heritage for the state of Maryland.
Chanel Compton, Director of the Banneker-Douglass Museum, and Programs Director Sabriyah Hassan should issue an immediate forthcoming apology to everyone who attended “Generation Douglass” expecting to get an insightful conversation and discussion and instead had to sit through an evening dominated by the garbage history of Lou Fields. (BDM has emails of registrants to issue apology.)
Why does the history of Frederick Douglass continue to be forsaken by the likes of phonies like Umar Johnson, Yale’s David Blight, “Fake Fred,” and Lou Fields?
Because institutions like the Banneker-Douglass Museum do not have the self-respect and professionalism to respond to emails and/or phone calls from published and verified Douglass scholars. That is why.
The militant Douglass scholarship will continue. Just getting started.
“The Colored People of Baltimore” signed by Rev. John Fortie, Nathaniel Peck and William Levington [Niles Weekly Register, 3 October, 1835]
The following affecting reply of the very respectable colored clergymen, whose names are attached, on behalf of the people of their respective congregations and others – we sincerely believe is “just and true” in all its parts.
rector of St. James P. E. church, Baltimore.
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!