Posts Tagged Tarence Bailey

LOOK! Douglassonian Muralist Shawn Dunwoody debuts distinctive Dr. Frederick Douglass stomping in his Air Force Ones, the standard uniform of Eastern Shoremen

Tarence Bailey in Rochester _ 900 South Avenue w new FD mural (June 2018)

Tarence Bailey, Sr. (U.S. Army, Ret.) and his great-uncle Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass fashion the standard uniform of contemporary Eastern Shoremen … Air Force Ones.

Last 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 and fashion, Dunwoody has enlivened Dr. Douglass and brought him to life anew with two two works unlike any comparable murals.

While in Rochester to connect with family and participate in ceremonies Tarence Bailey visited the 900 block of South Avenue in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester. It was here the former Douglass homestead stood.

Now the site serves as the campus of the Frederick Douglass Community Library, School No. 12 and the Frederick Douglass Recreation Center

I am familiar with murals in my areas and have studied Prof. Zoe Trodd’s expansive documentation of Douglass murals internationally. Dunwoody’s works are some of my personal favorites and will be included in the Frederick Douglass Mural exhibit planned for this fall.

To be continued …


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Rochester City School District: Rename School 12 for Frederick and Anna Douglass. Upraise Anna Douglass, a woman as determined and committed to the cause as her husband.

Anna Douglass

Anna Douglass, a patroness saint, radical abolitionist, friend, wife, mother and grandmother.

In America today efforts abound to uplift fallen history and correct misleading mythology.

Just as genuflecting on Lincoln, Twain, Washington and others is commonplace, and in the wrong hands can be destructive, the tendency to hero-worship Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass can have its shortcomings.

Acknowledging, recognizing and raising up Dr. Douglass is of vital import. However, in lifting up Dr. Douglass we must also elevate all those who “made” his public life possible.

Anna Murray, a childhood associate of Dr. Douglass within the black community of the Eastern Shore, must also be upraised.

Time is now. It is due time to tell it and tell it right.

The recent scholarship of Dr. Leigh Fought, Women in the World of Frederick Douglass, has advanced an understanding of Anna Douglass, a woman as determined and committed to the cause as her husband, as well as equally complex.

In moving to rename School 12 for Dr. Frederick Douglass, we humbly suggest you recognize Anna Douglass, a patroness saint, radical abolitionist, friend, wife, mother and grandmother.

We dare speculate Dr. Douglass would insist on his first wife’s name joining him in the adornment of a public school in his adopted city of Rochester and we understand living descendants think it would be fittingly honorific, proper, respectful and historic.



RCSD may rename School 12 for Frederick Douglass

, @citizenmurphy

Frederick Douglass may reap yet another honor in his bicentennial celebration, as the Rochester City School District is considering renaming James P.B. Duffy School 12 after him.

The school, across from Highland Hospital on South Avenue, stands on the site of the house where Douglass lived for most of his time in Rochester. That house burned to the ground in 1872, a suspected arson.

The adjacent public library was renamed for Douglass in 2016.

There was, until several years ago, a Frederick Douglass Junior High School on Fernwood Park in northeast Rochester. The building, still referred to as the Douglass campus, now houses Northeast/Northwest College Prep.

There is also a program for very vulnerable students called NorthSTAR, named after the newspaper that Douglass published in Rochester.

School 12 would not necessarily be called Frederick Douglass School 12, school board President Van White said. It could be some other name alluding to him or to his first wife, Anna Douglass, who was essential to the operation of their home as a station on the Underground Railroad.

“There are many people who went to that school who don’t know who James Duffy was,” White said. “The thought is to give the school some connection to Frederick Douglass because that’s obviously someone who people know.”

Duffy served on the city school board from 1905-32, then served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1935-37. He later was a state Supreme Court judge.

Duffy died in 1969. The school was renamed for him in 1972, just as it was being renovated.

White said a name change would also serve to help the school move on from the death of 14-year-old Trevyan Rowe, who ran away from the school after getting off the bus one morning in March and ended up drowning in the Genesee River.

“This is a year of transition for that school, and I think it could probably use an opportunity to talk about a different, more positive future, given what happened to Trevyan,” he said. “Not a new beginning, but a change.”

Jennifer Gkourlias, who had been principal until going on leave in January, has decided to resign rather than return. Vicki Gouveia, the current acting principal, will remain there until a permanent replacement can be found, White said.

The school board will have a public forum to discuss the renaming question at 6 p.m. Monday, May 21. White said the board hopes to act on the renaming in time for the 2018-19 school year.

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“Keeping the Douglass Legacy Alive” – Lecture by Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., grandson of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in Annapolis, Maryland [May 22, 2018, 6:30pm @ St. John’s College]


Please register for the Kenneth B. Morris lecture HERE!

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The Bailey brothers, Frederick & Perry: “Those two brothers, standing there side by side, moved the audience to tears of glad sympathy.” [Unknown story of Frederick Douglass and his big brother Perry Bailey aka Perry Downs aka Perry Douglass]

Dr. Frederick Douglass maintained a dignified presence equally with peasants and presidents. His name was, and is, known the world over.

Dr. Frederick Augustus Washington (Bailey) Douglass is America’s Pharaoh from the Tuckahoe to the Choptank to the Patapsco to the Thames to the Genesse to the Potomac to the old Eastern Branch to the Seine to the Nile River.

The Bailey Tribe of the Eastern Shore from whence Dr. Douglass emerged, son of Harriet, grandson of Isaac and Betsy, have affirmed their existence in this country for centuries. Today, the Bailey name is hundreds, if not thousands, deep in communities throughout the Shore counties. The Baileys have been in this country for longer than the combined years of the Kennedy and Drumpf (Trump) families.

Documentation confirming the birth year of Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey and his siblings discovered by Douglassonian scholar Dickson Preston at the Maryland State Archives in the 1970s has henceforth provided infinite intrigue for speculation.

No newspapermen, preachers or biographers 

No matter the investigatory efforts of researches the history of the family of Dr. Douglass will always remain beyond the reach of newspapermen, preachers and biographers.

The history of the family of Frederick Douglass is sacred. Douglassonian biographers and historians have a responsibility to protect and, when necessary, correct the public record from the dangerous blasphemy of speculative historians and salesmen.

Image result for eliza bailey mitchell house saint michaels

Home of Eliza Bailey Mitchell, maintained by the Chesapeake Bay Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Folklore and family lore are not the same. In the journalism industry there are some stories which can never be confirmed and thus responsible editors will not allow their publication. There may be, and often is, an oral tradition which floats above, below, behind, in front of and in-between a story. Special care and attention is required and mandatory when uplifting fallen history.

Questions Douglass grappled with his entire life over the identity of his father have mis-directed the conversation for decades.

In telling the story of Douglass his sisters and older brother have largely evaded mention by biographers. Records, private letters, newspaper accounts and forgotten books provide fleeting accounts.

The relationship between Frederick and his older brother Perry Bailey, also known as Perry Downs and Perry Douglass, is known within the family, staff of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Grahams Alley Douglassonians and W Street Douglassonians but largely ignored by present-day Douglass scholars.

Scholarship on the family is reportedly being undertaken by respected William Wells Brown-scholar Ezra Greenspan. The scrap books owned by antiquarian and Douglassonian Dr. Walter O. Evans have allowed for review of newspaper articles and family letters previously unknown to modern biographers.

We anticipate his scholarship and the upcoming publication of material in the Evans Collection giving a fuller account of the Douglass family.

Perry Bailey, older brother of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass 


SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Mary A. Dodge Collection), Anthony Ledger A, MSA SC 564. (Page 2) —  The older brother of Frederick, Perry Bailey, is known to Douglassonians in indigenous communities of Easton & Old Anacostia but *largely ignored in existing body of Douglassoniana Studies.

Perry mentioned in My Bondage and My Freedom (1855)

In his second autobiography Frederick Douglass recalled raw memories of seeing his older brother assaulted.

In contemplating the likelihoods and possibilities of our circumstances, I probably suffered more than most of my fellow servants. I had known what it was to experience kind, and even tender treatment; they had known nothing of the sort. Life, to them, had been rough and thorny, as well as dark. They had–most of them–lived on my old master’s farm in Tuckahoe, and had felt the reign of Mr. Plummer’s rule.

The overseer had written his character on the living parchment of most of their backs, and left them callous; my back (thanks to my early removal from the plantation to Baltimore,) was yet tender. I had left a kind mistress at Baltimore, who was almost a mother to me. She was in tears when we parted, and the probabilities of ever seeing her again, trembling in the balance as they did, could not be viewed without alarm and agony.

The thought of leaving that kind mistress forever, and, worse still, of being the slave of Andrew Anthony–a man who, but a few days before the division of the property, had, in my presence, seized my brother Perry by the throat, dashed him on the ground, and with the heel of his boot stamped him on the head, until the blood gushed from his nose and ears–was terrible!

This fiendish proceeding had no better apology than the fact, that Perry had gone to play, when Master Andrew wanted him for some trifling service. This cruelty, too, was of a piece with his general character.

After inflicting his heavy blows on my brother, on observing me looking at him with intense astonishment, he said, “That is the way I will serve you, one of these days;” meaning, no doubt, when I should come into his possession. This threat, the reader may well suppose, was not very tranquilizing to my feelings. I could see that he really thirsted to get hold of me. But I was there only for a few days. I had not received any orders, and had violated none, and there was, therefore, no excuse for flogging me.

Bailey Brothers reunite after 40 years

Frederic May Holland first biographer to mention Perry Bailey

Materials now at Howard University, Library of Congress and in the collection of Dr. Evans were originally in possession of the living and breathing Dr. Douglass and thus made available to original Douglassonian biographers.

Frederic May Holland, an overlooked and under-valued Douglassonian biographer, worked with Dr. Douglass to research and write his 1891 biography, The Colored Orator.

Douglass provided Holland special access to these scrapbooks. Within the materials were private letters, including one from educator and abolitionist Sallie Holley telling of a lecture offered by Frederick Douglass in which he introduced his older brother.

Sallie Holley (cropped).jpg

Sallie Holley wrote a letter describing an 1867 lecture in which Frederick Douglass introduced his older brother, Perry Bailey.

Holland quotes directly from the letter:

Frederic May Holland account 

The first day of August, 1867 I joined a party of ladies and gentlemen to hear Frederick Douglass. It was an open air meeting, with an audience of two thousand people.  ….

Douglass then introduced his newly arrived, dear brother, Perry, from whom he had been separated forty years. He had often tried to find him ; had sent agents down South again and again, but never could get any trace of him. Slavery hid him away forty years — whelmed him in its loathsome, bitter floo’d.

He spoke of his unspeakable joy in his being restored to him again. The sight of those two long-parted brothers standing side by side — one with his culture and courage, the other in his truth and affection — moved the audience to tears.

It seemed a picture for an artist. It was the first time Perry ever heard Frederick make a public speech; it was a great event to him.

Perry said he was in Texas when emancipation was proclaimed, and overheard his master say he had run his property into Texas and then he could run it into Cuba. Then Perry said he knew something was wrong about master, and he made up his ‘ mind never to go on the water.’

Perry was older than Frederick, and smaller and darker. He went to reside in Rochester near his brother.

His honest face won interest and confidence at first sight, which his good-sense and religious trust confirmed.

Account of the Bailey Brothers in Sallie Holley’s book

In 1899, six years after her death, the letters of Sallie Holley were published under the editorial care of John White Chadwick.

Included in the collection of letters is the same primary source Holland quotes from, with some small variations.


ELMIRA, Aug. 1, 1867.

To-day was spent at Watkins. In the morning we visited the Glen, so wildly beautiful, and in the afternoon we heard Frederick Douglass in a grand speech before three thousand people, a third coloured, at an open-air meeting. Amelia Tyler says, ‘Douglass is no negro; I wouldn’t mind being his complexion.’

“When Douglass was demanding for the negro equality before the law that government should know no black, no white a man cried out, ‘That ‘s a damnable sentiment.’

Douglass said, ‘ The Copperheads are saying I am no negro! Then, as a white man, I declare I have no objection to negro equality before the law. I do not believe it will lessen my chances for the Presidency! The negro would not refuse to vote for me on that account.’

He introduced his newly arrived brother Perry, from whom he had been separated forty years.

He had often tried to find him, sent agents down South again and again, but could get no trace of him. Slavery had whelmed him in its bitter flood. He spoke of his unspeakable joy in being restored to him.

It was a tender and beautiful sight. Those two brothers, standing there side by side, moved the audience to tears of glad sympathy. Perry’s honest face won, at first sight, confidence and interest, which his words of good sense and religious trust deepened. It was the first time he had ever heard his brother speak in public.

Frederick invites big brother to live at Cedar Hill; cares for him upon his death

Following their first meeting in nearly forty years Frederick invited his older brother to live with him in Rochester. After living for some time in Rochester Perry moved, reportedly, back to the Eastern Shore.

In 1878, while speaking at a church in Old Easton, Frederick again met his older brother. He invited him to come back to Washington City.

On June 1, 1880 an enumerator for the United States Census counted Perry Bailey as “Perry Downs” living in an accessory dwelling, a guest house, on the grounds of Cedar Hill

Perry was listed at 67, putting his birthday in 1813, which records at the Maryland State Archives confirm. Frederick, the United Sates Marshal for the District of Columbia, is listed as being 60.

Perry was recorded in Census records as a widowed laborer born in Maryland. Within his household was his sister, “Kelly Barrett,” aged 58 and his 33-year old nephew.

crop_1880 United States Federal Census for F. W. Douglass _ Perry Downs

1880 Census Record for households of Frederick Douglass and Perry (Bailey) Downs. Washington, District of Columbia.

Household Members:

Name Age
Perry Downs 67
Kelly Barret 58
H. F. Wilson 33

According to accounts confirmed by staff of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and within local and family folklore, during the last months of Perry’s life his younger brother, Frederick, cared for him in the upstairs room adjacent to his own.

Within the walls of Cedar Hill, the mansion overlooking the United States Capitol and the neighborhood of Old Anacostia, Frederick Douglass comforted his older brother upon his last breathe.

No mention of the 1867 story of Frederick and Perry standing side by side and addressing an audience nor an account of the care Frederick provided his older brother upon his last days exists within the current canon of Douglassonian Studies.


A Life for Liberty Anti-Slavery and Other Letters of Sallie Holley. 1899. p. 202 – 203.

Frederick Douglass: The Colored Orator. Holland, Frederic May. 1891. p. 318 – 319.

1880 United States Census. Washington, District of Columbia. Roll: 121; Page: 143C. 

Anthony Ledger A, MSA SC 564. Maryland State Archives, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Mary A. Dodge Collection).

Editor’s Note:

Special thanks to staff at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Grahams Alley Douglassonians, W Street Douglassonians and Liberation Douglassonians who contributed their time and shared their unique insights for this article.

In correspondence with Prof. Leigh Fought it was suggested in my critique of existing scholarship I should include thine own work. Because Prof. Fought is the Omar of Douglassonian Studies I give respect when it is given and where do.

In truth, Prof. Fought’s collaborative and public scholarship on Frederick Douglass over the past decade or so has done more to advance and expand scholarship than many institutions have over their entire existences.

As an investigatory historian Prof. Fought posted research notes and subsequent questions into the unexplored history of the family of Frederick Douglass, which should be acknowledged for its pursuit of truth in scholarship as an example henceforth all researchers should aspire. Dr. Fought’s research has been acknowledged by descendants of Perry Bailey as being a precedent uplifting family history.

With respect in scholarship to Dr. Fought we offer a a quick review of existing Douglassonian books for inclusions / exclusions of information on Perry Bailey.

Frederick Douglass, The Orator, James Monroe Gregory
no mentions

Frederick Douglass: The Colored Orator, Frederic May Holland
see blog post above

Frederick Douglass, Benjamin Quarles
No mentions

Frederick Douglass, Philip Foner
No mentions

Young Frederick Douglass, Dickson Preston

Frederick Douglass, William McFeely

Douglass’s brother Perry, and Perry’s daughter, who had come to Cedar Hill to live. Perry was dying; Douglass told Amy Post, “He is a dear old fellow, and I am glad to have a shelter for him.”

[p. 297, paperback]

Love Across Color Lines, Maria Diedrich


Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia, John Muller
no mentions


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Community Picture Day in Old Anacostia (Interview at 16th & W Street SE in Old Anacostia w/ Tarence Bailey, Sr. from The Hill in Talbot County, Maryland)

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Anacostia Community Picture Day @ “Spread Southside Love” Mural (March 18, 2018)

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Community Picture Day, March 18, 2018. “Spread Southside Love”

Special thanks to Ephrame aka “E” for his leadership as a small business owner in the community, muralist Rebeka Ryvola for her creation of a vernacular mural which captures Frederick Douglass with his local and national friends, local author Dr. Courtney Davis for organizing the picture day, Ranger Nate, Ranger Virginia and the good folks of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site for their presence and Grahams Alley Douglassonian Tarence Bailey, Sr. of The Hill community of Old Easton, Maryland in Tablot County for coming together to make a memorable day for the neighborhood of Old Anacostia.

Thank you for your kind support!

P.S. Want to extend special thanks to those who supported the creation of the mural with in-kind donations or a financial contribution to cover costs.

Anacostia Watershed Society
Capital Community News (East of the River)
Susan Carlson
Community Forklift
Nettie Washington Douglass
Brandon & Anna-Lee Dozier
Prof. Leigh Fought
Frager’s Hardware Store
Dr. Perry Frank
Christopher Hopkins
Phil Hutinet (East City Arts)
John Kouros
Maureen Mais-Jack
Melissa Miller
Kenneth B. Morris
Stephen “Boundary Stones Godfather” Powers
Brent & Leigh Peterson-Weiser
Joshie Philpot
Mr. Ray
Germany Ray
Principal Riddlesprigger (Ketcham Elementary School)
Steven Shofar
Street Sense 
Katherine Thomas
W Street Douglassonians
Washington Informer 
Raymond Weeden (DC Prep – Anacostia Elementary Campus)

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Tarence Bailey, Grahams Alley Douglassonian of Easton, Maryland, connects with W Street Douglassonians of Old Anacostia

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Tarence Bailey, an original Grahams Alley Douglassonian from Easton, Maryland in Talbot County, Maryland, native soul of the ancestral African Bailey Tribe.

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.

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