Posts Tagged Old Anacostia
This past Saturday, January 16, 2021 Lost History Associates partnered with Robert Kelleman’s juggernaut community group Washington, D.C. History and Culture to present “Frederick Douglass and the Underground Railroad“.
More than 700 participants joined the virtual presentation precipitating an encore presentation on the same subject matter for February 14, 2021.
We wanted to give a special thanks to our friend Robert for the continued collaboration and partnership. Look forward to seeing you soon whether online or in-person.
A Note on the Sentiment of the Times: Frederick Douglass and George Washington from the Tuckahoe to Old Anacostia to Mount Vernon
A most profound Washingtonian of the 19th century walking the grounds of Mount Vernon seems redundant until you realize said man, of profoundness, was one Frederick Augustus Washington (Bailey) Douglass.
The Honorable Frederick Douglass, who visited Mount Vernon on several occasions, in a capacity that would satisfy both his public and private interests, is still relatively unknown outside of his promethean efforts as a leader of an international and American Abolitionist Movement.
Whereas you can find volume upon volume chronicling the Founding Fathers of America we have yet to turn our earnest attention to interpret the deeper legacies of our nation’s seminal forebears; Black American Patriots.
In understanding what we inherit from our ancestors subsists a compelling sentiment of what Fredrick Douglass would have gleaned from his durable study and lifelong admiration of the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army as taught him by Black American Patriot Founding Fathers.
As has been said Frederick Douglass is to Black America what President George Washington is to America, ongoing dialogue with our communities supports this continuance of sentiment that Douglass manifested in his life. Those who would deny this sacred sentiment have either yet to explore this history or deem it and its truer implications insignificant.
The paucity of a scholastic understanding and collective wherewithal is not by chance, however; professional historians, government-supported historical organizations and institutions of higher learning across generations and geography have knowingly or unknowingly largely ignored the consequential relationships and interconnectedness of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass (1818 – 1895) to Founding Father George Washington (1732 – 1799).
The connections and associations are near infinite. On the Tuckahoe Frederick (Bailey) Douglass was initiated as a Washingtonian by patriotic Black veterans of the Continental Army who served, distinguishably, alongside General Washington and his officer corps.
Within the community of Old Anacostia, in the hilly terrain of Southeast Washington City, Mr. Douglass would discover himself acquainted with those who had been born at Mount Vernon. He knew intimately the yoke of bondage and in it the degrees of complexity to which the precarious relationship existed between the bonded and the bondsmen. Mr. Douglass would have “[imbibed] the prejudices” of his fellow Washingtonians.
In the District of Columbia these legacies, these grandchildren of Mount Vernon’s manumitted society were taught by members of the Douglass family, who served as night school teachers and principals of DC Public Schools. These young Washingtonians would often find themselves gamboling and playing baseball with their classmates, the Douglass grandchildren, on the grounds of Cedar Hill.
The Washington family remains a respected family within Old Anacostia today due their continued leadership and contributions to the neighborhood and throughout Washington City. The Washington surname is recognized on each and every individual sign of the Old Anacostia Heritage Trail among community members who supported and contributed to the creation of the markers.
For more than 150 years Black Washingtons have been respected leaders within Old Anacostia, Barry Farm, Garfield, Good Hope and adjacent historic Freedmen communities of Washington, D.C.
Across his public career Douglass often invoked the memory of Washington, as did other abolitionists of his era and those that preceded it. Douglass was raised into a tradition of spirited reverence for Black American Patriots whom Washington, Lafayette, and other officers from the prominent Shore families entrusted and accredited with their lives.
In General Washington, Douglass would discover a coadjutor and proponent in his cause, and the cause of his four million enslaved brothers, sisters, cousins, mothers, fathers and grandparents; the cause to end the condition of enslavement in America.
A thorough textual-analysis and study of every public speech and interview Frederick Douglass delivered, every private and public correspondence, every anecdote, memory and reference of friends and associates has not yet been realized in publication nor contemplated by the American academy.
Indigenous Douglassonian communities throughout this country need not your study. The history abides. Recorded oral collections within Old Anacostia today align with the historic record of Mr. Douglass and President Washington.
No apologists are to be found within Old Anacostia today for the community’s loyalty to Mr. Douglass. As Mr. Douglass respected and claimed George Washington as one of his own, as does Old Anacostia.
From the family of Coach Wanda Washington to the family of Uncle Akelo Washington, within the presence of the specters of Cedar Hill today live Black American Washingtonians, the genesis of their surname the Washington family of Virginia.
The duality of American Patriotism is that American Patriotism is, and has always been, defined, shaped and determined by the patriotism of Black Americans.
Generations before publication in 1903 of The Souls of Black Folks Douglass manifested this duality, and “double consciousness,” in his fidelity to Washington and an unwavering public recognition of the determinant role of the contributions of Black American patriots at every moment of every battle of the Revolutionary War, citing their prominence in founding this country’s freedom creed as equal to Washington, if not greater in humanity and sentiment.
Therefore Black Americans, free, indentured and enslaved, who inhabited old settlements along the Tuckahoe Creek of Caroline and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore had an obligation to provide counsel on Washingtonian virtues in war and peace to a young Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.
This community of Black American citizen-soldier forgotten patriots of the Revolution told Betsy Bailey’s grandson the virtues of General Washington were his to inherit.
The astute and precocious young child born in enslavement was of the loyalty of Black Americans to Washington and the loyalty of Washington to Black Americans. Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was baptized in the muddy waters as a native son of Revolutionary Black American citizen-soldiers who held the virtues of Washington as their own.
The courage and loyalty of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to question the founding principles of his native soil throughout his entire public career across a half-century is a Washingtonian virtue.
Taught lessons of life and loyalty to community and family from his earliest recollections, the lifelong work of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to return his opportunities to others of his race is definitively an African virtue, inscribed and carried in proverb and prophecy.
Black Americans dual patriotism is uniquely a product of the historic intersection of a peoples with millenniums of African civilization, customs, cultures and values forged in battle for American Independence alongside General George Washington that has yet to be fully recognized and reconciled to this day.
As the father figure of America, George Washington was an adopted father figure for Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey from his earliest recollections.
The oral tradition, and historic record, confirm the abiding commitment and contributions Douglass made to Washington City, specifically Freedmen communities east of the Anacostia River, where the Douglass family lived and actively participated in the betterment of civic life for more than a quarter-century.
Addressing local churches, schools, citywide celebrations and speaking with folks on the corners, Frederick (Bailey) Douglass imparted his affinity and admiration for President Washington, and the Black American Revolutionary War Patriots who served their country alongside Washington, to a generation of future physicians, educators, entertainers, journalists, authors, soldiers, dramatists, lawyers, philanthropists, preachers, politicians, diplomats and Civil Rights activists who lived well into the 1950s and 1960s.
As George Washington is a father of America, its founding and is an embodiment of national patriotism as Frederick (Bailey) Douglass is that nameless enslaved child who was reared at the foot of sable soldiers of the Continental Army to ignite reform across the country and Western World for peoples of African descent that continues to inspire Black and White American school children anew today.
The defiantly militant agitation for Black America that was the life’s work of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass was inspired by many known, and many nameless and forgotten patriots.
Throughout his life Douglass would invoke President Washington as an ode to Black American Patriots; a song to those who had sacrificed and bled for freedom, whose blood and bone were interred on the hallowed theaters of war of the American Revolution and did not see their liberation realized.
Even today one could not speak to the legacy of America’s fight for sovereignty from the British without, in the same breath, mentioning both the courage of George Washington and the valor of the nation’s Black Defenders of America; it would be a disservice to the history of both.
As 2020 wanes we feel it our obligation and responsibility to speak on and to the sentiment of our times as Douglassonians and Washingtonians.
Sentimentality will not save us as a country but it may help us save us from ourselves.
In an 1857 speech in New York City, delivered in response to the March ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Dred Scott v Sanford, Frederick Douglass invoked not just the memory of Washington but cited Washington’s redemptive sentiment; the redemptive sentiment on which this forsaken soil was founded.
George Washington can never be claimed as a fanatic, or as the representative of fanatics.
The slaveholders impudently use his name for the base purpose of giving respectability to slavery. Yet, in a letter to Robert Morris, Washington uses this language — language which, at this day, would make him a terror of the slaveholders, and the natural representative of the Republican party.
“There is not a man living, who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see some plan- adopted for the abolition of slavery ; but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by Legislative authority ; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall not be wanting.”
Washington only spoke the sentiment of his times.
Note, article & research registered with United States Copyright Office; Library of Congress.
Authorship: JHM & JLM
Thank you WETA (PBS – 26) for coming to Old Anacostia to speak with the community; thank you Mr. Ray, Honorable Uncle Akelo Washington and neighbors for their time and hospitality
Capturing scenes and sketches of life at 16th & W Street SE in front of E’s store and a large mural of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass, the neighborhood was enthusiastic sharing their thoughts and perspectives.
We thank Ranger Dr. McClarin, Honorable Akelo Washington, Mr. Ray, E, Bishop Green, Scoop, Coach Carole, JLM and several others, including Mr. Jeff Eagle, and his son, for coming down to the neighborhood where it can speak for itself.
Reportedly, it will be several months before the neighborhood features will be edited and/or produced.
We expect the footage to make its debut in 2021 on WETA – Channel 26.
Funeral Services for Honorable Devin, Old Anacostia Douglassonian (Fri., August 23, 2019; viewing 10-11am / services 11am – 12 noon @ Historic Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2498 Alabama Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. 20020)
Honorable Devin is an Old Anacostia Douglassonian in life and afterlife.
While he protected, guarded and honored the history of his community during his life we have an additional responsibility henceforth in uplifting the history to do so with honor and respect for his name and memory and contributions to his community.
It is with bowed head and clasped hands we take a knee and pray on the corners for the memory of Honorable Devin and all Old Anacostia Douglassonians who have joined the Lord’s Army of Guardian Angels to watch and guard the living.
With the sincerest sympathies and deepest of heartfelt courtesies we send our condolences and love to Honorable Devin’s family, friends, loved ones and community of Old Anacostia.
The historicity of Allen Chapel AME Church, known as the “Cathedral of Southeast,” cannot be expressed in language.
Prior to the American Civil War a community of free peoples of African descent in the area of Good Hope Hill received blessing from the Baltimore Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent religious denomination founded by peoples of African descent in America, to establish Allen Chapel.
Before the American Civil War Allen Chapel AME has been a sanctuary for the community.
President Obama visited and attended services at the Cathedral of Southeast while serving as President of the United States of America.
The loss and void felt in our hearts is eternal as is the history Honorable Devin contributed to his community and our knowing his history will remain forever.
Lecture by Hon. Frederick Douglass “In Aid of Free Night Schools” at Washington City in same church where Howard University was founded.
Dr. Frederick Douglass ran with the lost Gods of history. From fugitive slaves to American Presidents to starving Irish peasants to foreign heads of state Dr. Douglass commanded respect and supreme authority wherever and whenever he stepped.
Among the “paradigms” of intersectionality in which historians with no history attempt to place Dr. Douglass they fail to comprehend and understand something simple and basic: Dr. Douglass was a friend to the friendless.
Evident throughout his entire life Dr. Douglass gave back to the cause which raised him.
When I first began investigating the local legacy of Dr. Douglass community members in Old Anacostia asked, suggested and demanded I tell the untold story of his giving back to the community. I heard many an oral history, some I have now forgot, of Dr. Douglass looking out for young folk and families of the community. One of the more interesting stories I heard was from an older lady who told me her grandmother attended a local church where Dr. Douglass was known to occasionally teach Sunday school. The older lady, who I would speak to during walks in the neighborhood with my dear friend Anthony Moore, told me her grandmother and classmates would get together as adults and talk about their friend and former teacher.
As a teenager Dr. Douglass taught slaves to read. Without equivocation the established archival record and oral histories confirm Dr. Douglass was respected as an educator and friend to the friendless within his community for more than 60 years. Dr. Douglass never forgot the forgotten.
Heretofore henceforth whereas therein speculative scholarship is a dangerous and racist distortion of the truth of the life of Dr. Douglass. You know, we know who you are.
The Western Academy has betrayed Dr. Douglass. Modern American historians have near uniformly disgraced themselves and their profession with the incredible absence of original scholarship on Dr. Douglass.
The history of Dr. Douglass is in you and your community. The community of Old Anacostia has authorized me to uplift the fallen history and legacy of Dr. Douglass across all nations and languages.
Truth will set us all free.
Living in Washington City for a quarter-century Dr. Douglass was known as equally in the press galleries of the House and Senate and offices of the Executive Mansion as he was on street corners, church pulpits and classrooms of Howard University.
That Dr. Douglass commanded supreme respect wherever he walked was not due his fame nor his past but due his assistance to his community in the present.
Knowing vapid academics have stolen my research before and will continue to do so we are selective in our disclosure of sources but it is sometimes extra necessary to demonstrate from whence Dr. Douglass comes to counter and correct the dominating lies and untruths.
In 1886 Dr. Douglass gave a lecture “In Aid to Free Night Schools” at the same church where Howard University was conceived.
We briefly share this anecdote to honor Valerie Ashley and all her staff and students at Southeast Ministry, all staff and students at Ballou STAY, Roosevelt Stay, Academy of Hope, Washington Literacy Council and all the organizations in Washington City uplifting humanity and community.
It is through the work of these organizations the legacy of Dr. Douglass remains alive and well.
Join local reporter and historian John Muller on a walk through Old Anacostia, examining the neighborhood through the eyes of residents past and present.
Blending historic research and contemporary Ward 8 politics, our guide will lead the group on a walk through time, exploring our city’s most historic Historic District. Stories of presidents, famed one-time resident Frederick Douglass, 19th-century architecture and neighborhood folklore will be woven throughout.
Questions and photography are encouraged throughout the walking tour!
Adults – $20
Seniors, students, veterans and Ward 8 residents – $15
Anacostia AMP & Anacostia Steelers – Free
Tours start at 9:00 AM and concludes at 11:00 AM.
Meet at the visitor’s center of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
1411 W Street SE.
Wear walking shoes, total travel is 1.5 miles.
Not ADA accessible.
Metro: Anacostia (Green Line) / Free parking on site.
QUESTIONS / RESERVATIONS:
Walking Tours of Old Anacostia available … Thank you to Walking Town DC, Cultural Tourism DC and Coach Tony of the Anacostia Steelers
It’s been a busy fall but in between everything I managed to lead a large FREE walking tour of Old Anacostia in partnership with Cultural Tourism DC’s annual Walking Town DC program.
It was my first time partnering with Cultural Tourism DC and by happenstance it was my first time leading a large walking tour through the neighborhood during Minister Farrakhan’s annual visit to Union Temple Baptist Church.
Special thanks to Coach Tony of the Anacostia Steelers for kindly taking a moment from running his business to warmly greet visitors to the neighborhood and spreading word of the Anacostia Steelers youth football team, an outgrowth of the AMP Outreach and Empowerment Center.
As humidity and temperatures retreat I will begin offering walking tours of the neighborhood.
For those interested in scheduling and pricing contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Banners throughout Fell’s Point; Greedy Reads bookstore at corner of South Ann & Aliceanna Streets maintains centuries-old tradition of radical booksellers
Throughout stone streets and corners a juvenile Frederick Bailey hit running up against and with the Point Boys and Town Boys of 1820s and 1830s Baltimore dozens of commemorative banners affix light poles recognizing the bicentennial birth year of a local legend known throughout all four corners of the Earth.
Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh and partnering organizations Living Classrooms at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Museum Maritime Museum and Park, Society for the Preservation of Federal Hill and Fell’s Point, Crossroads School and Morgan State Professor Dale Green of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture must be applauded and acknowledged for uplifting and elevating Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in such a proper and public way.
In the full spirit of celebration of Dr. Douglass we must also acknowledge his emergence as a lifelong bibliophile began during his time in Fell’s Point.
Parlaying fifty cents earned from “blacking boots for some gentlemen” a defiant adolescent Frederick Bailey purchased The Colombian Orator from radical bookseller Nathaniel Knight’s shop at 28 Thames Street.
During our flâneur through Fell’s Point yesterday we stopped by Greedy Reeds, Fell’s Point only independent book store, at the corner of South Ann and Aliceanna Streets, a tilt Frederick Bailey passed going to and fro.
Julia, the proprietress of Greedy Reads, is a radical bookseller, keeping a local tradition alive that goes back centuries.
We thank all in Fell’s Point for elevating the history and the neighborhood.
We hope leaders within Washington City and the greater Old Anacostia neighborhood can follow the lead of our friends in Easton, Maryland in Talbot County and Fell’s Point by installing bicentennial banners of our own.
It is the least Washington City and Old Anacostia can do to show our respect and appreciation for all Dr. Douglass did for the neighborhood and the city and continues to do with the presence of his benevolent spirit.
Tarence Bailey, Grahams Alley Douglassonian of Easton, Maryland, connects with W Street Douglassonians of Old Anacostia
On Sunday, March 18, 2018 in the year of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Mr. Tarence Bailey (US Army, Ret.), whose grandfather (5x) Perry Bailey was the older brother of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass and who passed in 1880 on Cedar Hill, walked the streets of Old Anacostia to connect with local inhabitants and indigenous Douglassonians.
It is not any man, or woman, person or group who can hold the time and attention of young men on the corners by chopping up the math and science of American and African history.
Mr. Bailey shared some of his experiences growing up in Easton in the 1980s and early 1990s when the area was faced with similar challenges that face Anacostia, as well as a tour he took of the Wye Plantation where ancestors of his Tribe are buried in an unmarked mass slave grave that has been maintained for longer than this country has existed. History is not something in a history book or biography to Mr. Bailey.
No firm plans were yet made to unite the two villages but it is known among tribal leaders of Old Ana the Eastern Shore mutually respects and welcomes W Street Douglassonians for a visit across the Bay to the native soil that birthed the Sage of Anacostia and America’s Pharaoh, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.
Mr. Bailey shared some of the differences and similarities of Old Easton and Old Anacostia. His authority and ability to speak on history was respected and openly received. The history of the Bailey Tribe is the history of this country. The history of Mr. (Bailey) Douglass on Jefferson Street is the history of Old Ana. The history of Old Ana is the history of DC. The history of DC is the history of this country.
Young men at 16th & U and some of the older-younger guys at 16th & V spoke with Mr. Bailey and expressed mutual respect and admiration for the unique and sacred Douglassonian legacy the two communities have a shared responsibility to uphold and protect.
For the purposes of local lore and the year of the Bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’ Birth it was a historic and important day for the neighborhood of Old Anacostia to host Mr. Bailey.
Frederick Douglass as profiled by Jane Marsh Parker [Salt Lake Evening Democrat, April 23, 1887, p. 4.]
“A marked characteristic of Frederick Douglass is his love for music. When but a little fellow he would go up to “the great house” to hear the violin play for the dancers. The fiddler, he says, did not play common airs, but the best music, and while he listened the little yellow boy under the window forgot everything else. Love of music drew him to the Methodist meetings, for the singing was music to him, and he joined in with a will. It was at these meetings he began to speak in public, and discovered how well he could talk and the pleasure in being praised for the same. When a Sunday school exhibition by the free negroes was in prospect he found a chance for exercising his budding oratory. He bought a “speaker” with the “tips” his master had given him for blacking boots, and selected a piece with a plenty of big words – a college oration was wherein expounded what man can by imagination. The words were Greek to him, but he particularly liked rolling out: “He can soar aloft where stars glitter on the mantle of light and a more effulgent sun lights up the blushes or morning.”
Talking with Frederick Douglass one is sometimes inclined to think that, interesting as his autobiography is, it does not contain many of the most interesting experiences of his life, those he once thought, perhaps, insignificant to the public. On his wife’s piano at Cedar Hill you may see the very same music book that he slipped into his bundle when he skipped out of Maryland. It is worth something to see him standing with his violin singing with Mrs. Douglass those old “Seraph” hymns. If you had breakfast with him on a Sunday morning he will pass you with his own hand the Maryland biscuit, and is it not worth knowing that are just like the biscuits “Miss Lucretia” used to give him when half starved he sang under her dining room window? “I used to wish I could have my fill of them, and now I mean to have, you see?”
There was living in Washington a year of so ago an old colored man, who was a fellow slave with “Fred,” as he still calls him. His wife was the daughter of the old fiddler of “the great house.” Hearing them talk together – the recorder of the District of Columbia, and the tender of a furnace in the Capitol – laughing merrily over reminiscences of the plantation, was a unique experience.
“No, I don’t remember anything special that Fred used to do in them days,” said the old man in reply to probing inquiry, “only he jes wouldn’t be put upon and wanted to boss everything.”
Full story available HERE:
Salt Lake Evening Democrat, April 23, 1887, p. 4.
* This story was re-printed in papers throughout the country. *
Jane Marsh Parker was friends with the Douglasses for decades and contributed articles to leading magazines of the late 19th century and early 20th century. She wrote novels as well as histories, including an 1884 book about the history of Rochester, New York which features Frederick Douglass.