Posts Tagged Union and Advertiser (Rochester)
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**er].”
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 …