Posts Tagged T. Thomas Fortune
POEM BY MR. T. THOMAS FORTUNE.
In introducing T. Thomas Fortune, of New York, editor of The Age, one of the leading papers published in the interest of his race. Mr. Thompson paid a fitting tribute to his abilities and his earnest efforts to secure the erection of the monument.
Mr. Fortune read an original poem, entitled, “Frederick Douglass”
The poem follows:
We cannot measure here the dizzy heights he trod
To whom this glyptic shaft is lifted from the sod,
Towards the matchless azure of sweet Freedom’s skies,
If we forget the depths whence God bade him arise,
Above the slave’s log cabin and a sireless birth,
To be a prince among the children of the earth !
No giant who has placed one foot upon the land
And one upon the sea, with power to them command,
To bid the angry turbulence of each be still,
And have them bend obedient to his master’s will —
Ever started lower in the social scale than he —
This Champion of the Slave, this Spokesman of the Free !
In him the deathless lesson of one common race
Was taught anew — the lesson you who will may trace
From Babel’s fatal tower to fateful Waterloo —
From Eden’s blest abode to slavery’s Tuckaho —
That still “one touch of nature makes the whole world kin,”
The world of love and joy, the world of woe and sin.
But such as Douglass was not born to wear a chain —
At the slave’s task to bend and cower and cringe and
To bare his princely back to the rude lash whose welt
Produced no pain that his proud soul must have felt !
As Moses did, he served in bondage for an hour
The better to be armed to crush the master’s power.
It has been ever thus since the old world was young —
The giants of the race from the head of woe have sprung —
Out of the agony and sweat and rayless hope
In which the swarming masses have been doomed to grope.
So lifts its head from rocks and sands the lighthouse brave,
To guide the fearless sailor o’er the treacherous wave.
For who can sing of woe who never felt a pain —
Who never hoped ‘gainst hope to know a joy again?
Who thirst for vengeance on the skulking, coward foe
As he whose sire or mate has fallen ‘neath the blow?
Who feel the venom of the slave’s undying hate
As lie whose lot has been the slave’s degrading fate?
‘Twas a long way to the north star from Tuckaho —
From slavery’s dark shade to freedom’s electric glow —
From out the depths — “O the depths !” — of slavery’s long
To the high altitude of freedom’s fadeless light !
And here he stood in winter’s storm and summer’s sun,
Majestic, brave, till the fierce war was fought and won.
We claim him as our own, the greatest of the race,
In whom the rich sun stamp of Africa you trace,
And we delight to place upon his massive brow
Affection’s crown of reverence, as we do now.
But, in a larger sense, forsooth, did he belong
To all the race, a prophet strong among the strong !
For he was large in stature and in soul and head
True type of New America, whose sons, ’tis said,
The western world shall have as glorious heritage —
That they shall write in history’s fadeless, truthful page
Such deeds as ne’er before have wrought for liberty
And all the arts of peace — the strongest of the free !
And every depth he braved, and every height he trod
From earth’s alluring shrines to the presence of his God;
And he was cheered by children’s confidence and trust,
A tribute never withheld from the true and just;
And woman’s sympathy was his, the divine power
That rules the world in calmest and stormiest hour !
To him all weakness and all suffering appealed;
‘Gainst none such was his brave heart ever steeled.
And pleading womanhood for honest rights denied
No champion had of sturdier worth to brave wrong’s pride —
To claim for her in all the fullest measure true
Of justice God ordained her portion, as her due.
He needs no monument of stone who writes his name
By deeds, in diamond letters, in the Book of Fame —
Who rises from the bosom of the race to be
A champion of the slave, a spokesman of the free —
Who scorns the fetters of a slave’s degrading- birth
And takes his place among the giants of the earth.
This shaft is lifted high in Heaven’s holy air
To keep alive our wavering hope, a message bear
Of inspiration to the living from the dead,
Who dared to follow where the laws of duty led,
They are so few — these heroes of the weak and strong —
That we must honor them in story and in song.
So let this towering, monumental column stand,
While freedom’s sun shall shine upon our glorious land,
A guiding star of hope divine for all our youth,
A living witness to the all-enduring truth —
The living truth that makes men brave to death, and true —
The truth whose champions ever have been few —
The truth that made the life of Douglass all sublime,
And gave it as a theme of hope to every clime !
Mr. Fortune’s poem was followed by an excellent violin solo by Joseph Douglass, of Washington, a grandson of Frederick Douglass. The older members of the audience, who remembered the great freedman’s love for music, and his own proficiency in the use of the violin, recalled many instances and greeted the young player with enthusiasm.
He played a selection from Verdi’s “II Trovatore.”
More information on the radical friendship of Frederick Douglass and T. Thomas Fortune across generations and geography will be shared February 8, 2020 at the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation and Cultural Center. See you soon!
“The Radical Friendship of T. Thomas Fortune and Frederick Douglass” (February 8, 2020 in Red Bank, New Jersey)
— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —
December 19, 2019
“The Radical Friendship of T. Thomas Fortune and Frederick Douglass”
Saturday, February 8, 2020
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Thomas Fortune Foundation and Cultural Center
94 Drs James Parker Boulevard
Red Bank, New Jersey 07701
Paramount to the study and discussion of the history of American Journalism, and the pantheon of the Black Press, are the careers and contributions of Frederick Douglass and T. Thomas Fortune.
Douglass took an active role mentoring and supporting Timothy Thomas Fortune, forty years his junior, while a law student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in the 1870s. With the development of the first national organization for African-American journalists and editors, Douglass and Fortune worked side by side. Sharing platform stages in cities from Virginia to New Jersey, Douglass and Fortune developed a friendship across generations and geography. In 1892 Fortune visited Cedar Hill, the Washington, D.C. home of Douglass, and wrote one of the most revealing and personal newspaper profiles of the Lion of Anacostia.
Visit the recently opened T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, a National Historic Landmark, to hear locally and internationally known Douglassonian scholar and author John Muller, with thought-provoking detail, present about their their relationship discussed through primary sources, including an 1886 letter in which Fortune wrote to Douglass: “I shall hope always to be remembered among your friends …”
Q&A will follow what promises to be a memorable one-hour presentation.
**Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served availability. While online registration is free, there will be a suggested donation to support ongoing activities and operations of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. ***
$10 — General Admission / $5 — Seniors, Students, Veterans, Journalists & Teachers
John Muller, author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia (2012) and Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent (2013), has presented widely throughout the DC-Baltimore metropolitan area at venues including the Library of Congress, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Newseum, American Library in Paris, Enoch Pratt Library, DC Public Library, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and local universities. Muller is a frequent guest on Washington, D.C. radio stations and has been cited by the Washington Post, Washington City Paper and other publications for his local history research and subject expertise. He is currently working on a book about the lost history of Frederick Douglass on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Muller has been featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV and C-SPAN’s American History TV, as well as in the pages of the Washington Post, airwaves of NBC4 (Washington) and radio stations WPFW (DC), WAMU (DC), WYPR (Baltimore) and Delmarva Public Radio (Eastern Shore).
For the past decade Muller has contributed hundreds of articles to local and national print and online news sources, including the Washington Informer.
The T. Thomas Fortune Foundation is an organization comprised of concerned citizens from New Jersey, some of whom have been working together since 2008 to bring awareness to the plight of the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Landmark, located at 94 Drs. James Parker Blvd. in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Over the years, we have held fundraisers, T. Thomas Fortune Symposium, a few “People Speak” events, Fortune birthday celebrations and made many school and public library presentations.
We are grateful for all the support we have received since the opening of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on May 30, 2019. We are anticipating Mr. Muller’s presentation to provide a greater historical perspective on the collaborative work and relationship of T. Thomas Fortune and Frederick Douglass.
For more information on T. Thomas Fortune Foundation and Cultural Center visit: https://www.tthomasfortuneculturalcenter.org/
Facebook Event Registration:
Congratulations to the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on the upcoming opening!
Colored Press Convention meets at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church w/ Frederick Douglass, William Calvin Chase, Ferdinand Barnett, T. Thomas Fortune, Richard T. Greener and others attend
If we are to celebrate Frederick Douglass’ Bicentennial I advance that we recognize the full measure of his life. Yes, he is known as a runaway slave who rose to advise more than a half-dozen United States Presidents but let us not be so limited in our understanding of Douglass. Lest us not forgot the lesser-known Douglass, such as editor Douglass.
Ranger Nate Johnson at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site knows and has presented on Douglass as a journalist and an editor.
In our ongoing research on Douglass, we are continuously interested in his unsung and largely unknown role as Editor Emeritus of the Colored Press (today known as the Black Press).
One small item we found in a June 1882 edition of the National Republican lists Douglass in attendance of the second day of proceedings for the Colored Press Convention at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, near 15th and R Streets NW. This was Rev. Grimke’s home church.
Other journalists attending were T. Thomas Fortune, Benjamin T. Tanner (founder of the Christian Recorder), Ferdinand L. Barnett, William C. Chase of the Washington Bee, W. A. Pledger of Atlanta and Richard T. Greener, a past editor and contributor to the New National Era.
Frederick Douglass tells T. Thomas Fortune Afro-Australian boxer Peter Jackson is “one of the best missionaries abroad”
Giving noted journalist T. Thomas Fortune a tour of his Cedar Hill library in 1892 Frederick Douglass’ wry sense of humor was on display.
“Don’t forget Peter’s picture,” exclaimed Mr. Douglass.
“Which Peter,” I asked.
Known as the “Black Prince,” Jackson, the Australian Heavyweight champion, gained notoriety in the United States for portraying the character of Uncle Tom in theatrical productions of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and for World Heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan‘s refusal to fight him.
In May 1891 Jackson fought James J. Corbett to a draw after 61 rounds. Corbett would go on to defeat Sullivan in September 1892.
Jackson is recognized as one of the greatest boxers of the 19th century.