Posts Tagged Newspapers
Reported “mob” threat in Newark, New Jersey disputed by Rochester sheets, Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass known for “preaching up a new rebellion” [September 1866]
With the bicentennial celebration sweeping across the country Rutgers University recently announced the naming of their sports field in Newark for Dr. Douglass.
According to a press release, “The Rutgers Board of Governors approved a resolution naming the athletics field at Rutgers University–Newark in honor of revered 19th century civil rights pioneer Frederick Douglass. The facility, used by Rutgers-Newark men’s and women’s Scarlet Raiders teams for NCAA Division III play and practice, as well as by numerous local community groups, will be known from now on as Frederick Douglass Field.”
With thousands of research notes yet published we often wait for the impetus to share a particular item. With the announcement by Rutgers University we share a brief item which may be of interest.
Special dispatch to the Tribune.
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 2.
A CONTEMPLATED ASSAULT ON FREDERICK DOUGLASS, ESQ., IN NEWARK.
During the stoppage at Newark of the train for Philadelphia with Fred. Douglass on board, squads from a crowd, which had been awaiting his coming, passed through the cars in search of him, shouting for “the damned [ni**ger].”
Mr. Douglass got through safely, however. Doubtless the mob was led to expect him by information sent them from New York.
Observe how minute and circumstantial! “The Mob” actually “passed through the cars shouting for the damned [ni**er].” “Information was sent to the mob from New York.” But after all “Mr. Douglass got through safely.”
The best part of the story is not told in the Tribune‘s special. Fred Douglass did not pass through Newark at all. It appears by written correspondence published in yesterday’s Union, that he went to Philadelphia by way of Pittsburgh. And it appears by this morning’s Democrat that at the very time when the Tribune says the Newark “mob were shouting for the damned ni**er,” Mr. Douglass was preaching up a new rebellion at North Collins, Erie Co., where he stopped on his way to Pittsburgh.
We quote a North Collins letter in that paper:
Frederick Douglass, who was present during a part of the three days of the meeting, stirred the hears of the vast concourse, by one of his thrilling and impressive efforts in oratory. He warned the people of the terrible crisis now impending. The nation had been basely betrayed, and was trembling on the brink of another rebellion, far more dangerous than the preceding one, because it would now have all the prestige of the government to sustain it.
So instead of “the damned [ni**er]” being set upon by a “Copperhead mob,” the individual thus described by the Tribune was at that very time engaged in getting up “another rebellion which would have all the prestige of the Government to sustain it.” But before we let our indignation get the better of our judgement over this Newark case, let us ask precisely how there can be “another rebellion” which will “have all the prestige of THE GOVERNMENT to sustain it!”
What kind of a “rebellion” will it be? Against whom will it be directed – having “all the prestige of the Government” on its side?
Union and Advertiser (Rochester), September 5, 1866, p. 3
“Five Hundred Years Hence Rochester’s Chief Title to Historic Fame Will be The Fact That It Was the Home of Douglass,” [“Fred. Douglass – Insincerity of the Radicals.” Union and Advertiser, August 25, 1866]
As the Bicentennial marches on I have ventured afield from W Street SE across the Chesapeake to the Shore, up the road to Baltimore and further north to Rochester, New York to do what little I can to uplift fallen and unknown history.
To say the least, the largely indifferent attitude I have encountered in contemporary Rochester to the history of Douglass in that city seems to be the continuation of a longstanding history of indifference.
Without further editorializing or ado …
Fred. Douglass – Insincerity of the Radicals.
“Five hundred years hence,” said Thompson the noted English agitator in Corinthian Hall some fifteen years ago – “five hundred years hence Rochester’s chief title to historic fame will be the fact that it was the home of Douglass.”
Yet while such is the high appreciation of Fred. Douglass by the Radicals and Abolitionists of foreign lands, the Radicals of Rochester regard him in no other light than a tool to be used to get votes for the “white trash” who control the Radical party, and carry off its officers and its honors.
The Radical party profess to go for Political Equality between Blacks and Whites. They propose to force Negro Equality upon the South at any cost – even that of another Civil War, if milder “persuasives” prove unavailing. But, while they hold that attitude before this country and the whole Christian world, they practically repudiate their avowed principles here where they have the power and the opportunity to assert them, and to illustrate their devotion to the Black race, by doing honor to its most distinguished representative.
Frederick Douglass is unquestionably a man of a higher order of talent. His moral character is unimpeachable. His is in our judgement the ablest and most accomplished man which the Black and mixed races have produced on this continent. If any man of his color ever was or ever will be entitles to a seat in Congress and full recognition of his Equality with the White race, assuredly he is that man.
Here he is, in a District overwhelmingly “Black Republican:” yet he is denied a nomination to Congress; denied a seat in the Radical State Convention; denied a seat in the Radical Conventions to nominate candidates for Congress and other offices, and turned off with the empty honor of going to Philadelphia to make votes for the “white trash” whom the Radicals of the District select for every really desirable place.
Will not the Tribune and Independent rebuke their fellow-partisans here their selfishness and insincerity?
Will they compare the sentiments of Mr. Hart, as set forth in his own language in another article, with the treatment of Mr. Douglass by Mr. Hart and his friends, and tell their readers what they think of such arrant hypocrisy and imposture?
“Fred. Douglass – Insincerity of the Radicals.” Union and Advertiser, August 25, 1866, p. 3.
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 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.