Posts Tagged Washington Post

Washington Post: “Lincoln statue sparks arguments. Protesters decry the image as racist; others defend its history.” (A10; Sat., June 27, 2020)

Image may contain: Nathan Richardson

Nathan Richardson as Frederick Douglass cools the tensions of a volatile crowd. 

Lincoln statue sparks arguments. Protesters decry the image as racist; others defend its history.”
The Washington Post
By Clarence Williams & Hannah Natanson
Saturday, June 27, 2020

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Book Talk at the Beatley Central Library, tomorrow, Wed., May 14th @ 7pm

Literary Calendar _ John MullerAs part of All Alexandria Reads I’ll be giving a presentation tomorrow, Wednesday, May 14th at the Beatley Central Library at 7pm. See you there!

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Marshal Frederick Douglass takes express train to Cumberland’s Queen City hotel; lectures for Emancipation celebration [Washington Post, Sept. 24, 1879 & Baltimore Sun, Sept. 23, 1879]

Queen_city_hotel _ Cumberland _ US Dept of Interior

Queen City Hotel
Cumberland, Maryland


He is Received by the Authorities and Delivers an Address

Special Dispatch to The Post.

Cumberland, MD., Sept. 23. – “Emancipation Day” was yesterday celebrated in this city in a very enthusiastic manner by the colored people, who flocked to the city in large numbers from the neighboring towns of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland. It was a gala day for the colored race.

About 2,000 visitors were in town, and the streets presented an animated appearance. The weather was cloudy but no rain fell, and everything went off pleasantly. About noon a procession was formed, which passed through the principal streets and wended its way to the Fair grounds, which are located in a commanding position to the east of the city. Several Masonic and other secret societies appeared in line. Marshal Douglass arrived on the express train from Washington at 2:10 P.M.

He was met at the Queen City hotel by an immense crowd of people, and escorted through the principal streets in a barouche, in which were seated Mayor William J. Read, Hon. Henry W. Hoffman, and Rev. B. H. Lee, the pastor of the A.M.E. Church in this city, who was also the president of the meeting. The procession arrived at the Fair grounds at 3 o’clock, escorted by a band of music. Among the vast assemblage present were Hons. George A Pearre, associate judge of this circuit, composed of Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties; Lloyd Lowndes, Wm. Walsh, R.D. Johnson, Esq., a prominent Democrat, A. Hunter Boyd, Esq., the State’s attorney of Allegany county, and a number of prominent citizens, including several ladies. The meeting was called to order by Rev. B.H. Lee, the chairman, who introduced Marshal Douglass. He spoke for two hours in a very eloquent manner.

Celebration of Emancipation Day at Cumberland.

[Special Dispatch to the Baltimore Sun.]

Cumberland, MD., Sept. 22. – The colored citizens of Cumberland celebrated the anniversary of emancipation to-day. The attendance from abroad was not so large as expected there being only about 250 colored strangers in the city. Those at home turned out well and showed great interest, many houses being decorated. There was a procession at 12 o’clock, in which were the Laboring Sons, Star Club, Union League Club, and Frederick Douglass club. There were also three wagons containing tableaus representing war, emancipation, trades, professions, and industrial and mechanical pursuits. The display was creditable. At 12:30 the visitors took dinner at the fair grounds. United States Marshal Fred Douglass arrived at 2:10 P.M., and was met at the depot by a large crowd of both races, the desire to see him being general. At 2:30 o’clock exercises were had at the fair grounds consisting of prayer by Rev. T. W. Harris and addresses by United States Marshal Douglass and Hon. W. W. Hoffman. The attendance at the fair grounds was good, and Mr. Douglass’s speech was listened to with great attention.


The historic content and sources hereby therein this blog post originally posted in late December 2012 has been stolen two times without any attribution, citation or mention by institutions in Western Maryland area. A couple years ago I brought the first instance of thievery up to Honorable Alfred Feldstein of Allegany County. That first instance of blatant thievery was an entry on the Western Maryland’s Historic Library.

The second, which I recently stumbled upon, is by the Allegany Museum in downtown Cumberland.

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READ: DCist’s Martin Austermuhle, “Literacity: Frederick Douglass’ D.C. Days”

Full article HERE:

National Park Service, FDNHS

“In the book, Muller dives into the complex and minute details of Douglass’ life in Washington—from his role as a newspaper publisher to public speaker and even the appointed U.S. Marshal for D.C., responsible for hunting down the very type of fugitive that he had once been. Muller also touches upon Douglass’ appointment as the D.C. Recorder of Deeds, and his service on the Board of Trustees of Howard University.

The book also touches upon the complexities of race relations in Reconstruction-era Washington, when slaves had been emancipated but segregation still remained. Muller tells of the death of Douglass’ wife in 1882, and his subsequent marriage to Helen Pitts, a white woman. The move shocked the city’s establishment—a Post reporter even asked him if it could compromise his position as a black leader—and showed the even the most ardent supporters of ending slavery still weren’t ready for what followed.

Muller’s book connects Douglass to the city and neighborhood the way no other project has yet been able to. In his epilogue, he explains that the research he did was motivated by his own questions during a visit to the Douglass house in 2010. In reading his book and visiting his home, you’re able to re-imagine the man and re-consider the possibilities of the place he once lived.”

Much thanks and respect to Martin for coming through to the Douglass house.

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Frederick Douglass statue links round-up

Washington Post, “D.C.’s Frederick Douglass statue headed to Capitol” [9.12.2012]

New York Times, “Washington to get Bronze Representative in Capitol” [9.13.2012]

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, “Douglass statue to be displayed in Capitol” [9.13.2012]

WAMU 88.5 FM, “D.C.’s Frederick Douglass Statue Will Move To Capitol” [9.14.2012]

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Frederick Douglass in Paris and “in a Peevish Mood” [Washington Post, Dec. 1, 1886] & 2010 poster for gospel choir performance in Paris

Fred Douglass in a Peevish Mood.

Boston, Nov. 30. – Fred Douglass has written to friends from Paris saying that he has everywhere been received with civility, courtesy and kindness and as a man among men. “America has her missionaries abroad,” he says, “in the shape of Ethiopian singers who disfigure and distort the features of the negro and burlesque his language and manners in a way to make him appear to thousands as more akin to apes than men. This mode of warfare is purely American and it is carried on here in Paris as it is in the great cities of England and of the States, so that to many minds, as no good was thought to come out of Nazareth, so no good is expected of the negro. In addition to these Ethiopian buffoons and serenaders who presume to represent us abroad, there are malicious American writers who take pleasure in assailing us as an inferior and good-for-nothing race of which it is impossible to make anything.”



Europeans’ interest in black American culture continues in Paris today; black American gospel choirs perform regularly to packed cathedrals. Hip-hop music and culture, largely the creation of Jamaican and American peoples of African descent, can be seen in today’s Paris; graffiti is seemingly everywhere, and music is heard (in French and English) blaring from the shops of Montmartre and hundreds of headphones on the Métro.

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Marshal Frederick Douglass accompanies “Queen of Staccato,” Madame Selika, to perform at the White House for President and First Lady Hayes [Wash Post, November 14, 1878]

In November 1878, Marshal Fred Douglas, a man of refinement, enjoyed an evening at the White House with President Hayes and First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes. Although Douglass, while serving as Marshal, reportedly stepped down from the ceremonial role of introducing guests at formal functions he was in frequent social company with President Hayes from Howard University to the White House.

Here’s an account of that evening from the Washington Post

Madame Selika at the White House

Last evening by appointment, Madame Selika, the wonderful colored prima donna, called at the White House, accompanied by Marshal Douglass and a few friends, and was introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Hayes. After a few moment’ conversation and rest, the madame sang “Staccato Polka,” from Meulder; “The Last Rose of Summer,” Ernani Involvami, Verdi; Ave Maria, Millard. Mr. Williams, baritone by request, sand “Far Away,” by Bliss. The several pieces showed to great advantage the remarkable power, sweetness and versatility of the madame’s voice and accomplishments, the Staccato Polka especially proving her worthy of her title as “Queen of Staccato.” Each piece was heartily applauded. The singers were afterwards warmly congratulated by Mr. and Mrs. Hayes.

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Death knocked on the door of the Frederick Douglass family too often, Douglass outlives his wife, two children, and numerous grand-children

Death knocked at the door of the family of Frederick Douglass all too frequently. When a parent buries a child the natural evolutionary order of life is upset. Frederick Douglass buried two of his children. Just nine of Douglass’ twenty-one grandchildren lived to adulthood.

When his youngest daughter Annie died in March 1860, less than two weeks short of her 11th birthday, Douglass was in Glasgow, Scotland, having fled the country after he was implicated in John Brown’s failed raid of the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry in November 1859.

Anna Murray Douglass passed away on August 4, 1882 and nearly ten years later, as a heat wave swept through the city, on July 26, 1892 Douglass’ middle son and namesake, Frederick, Jr. died. He was fifty years old.

From the National Tribune, 4 August, 1892.

Tuesday, July 26. – Frederick Douglass, jr., a son of the noted colored man of that name died at Hillsdale, a Washington suburb, today. Mr. Douglass was for some time employed in the office of Recorder of Deeds in the District of Columbia, having gone there while his father was the Recorder, but for the past five years has been a clerk in the Pension Bureau.

And from the Washington Post, 5 November, 1887.

Death in Fred. Douglass’s Family

Charles R. Douglass, son of Frederick Douglass, is at present sadly afflicted in the loss of his two elder children, Chas. F. and Julia A. Douglass, of typhoid fever. The disease was first taken by the son about five weeks ago and by the daughter about two weeks ago, since which time the three other children have been attacked and one of them is now lying at the point of death. Charles was about twenty years of age and the daughter about fifteen. The son’s death took place Wednesday night and the daughter’s the following night. The two bodies will be interred at Greenwood this afternoon.

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Washington Sentinel supports appointment of Fred Douglass as Marshal of the District, [Saturday, March 17, 1877]

Newspapering in Washington, D.C. in the 1870s was a make or break proposition. Sifting through the listings of papers in the Boyd’s City Directories for the decade between 1870 and 1880 there is a marked increase in the number of rags on the streets of Washington, D.C. but also a great fluctuation year to year with old papers dying and new ones emerging.

It was during the 1870s that The New National Era sprang to life and suffered a premature death. It was in 1877 that The Washington Post first appeared.

The range of city newspapers – dailies, weeklies, and monthlies — during this decade offer disparate editorials and reporting guided by the perspectives and ideologies  of varying political parties, social reform causes, and in the case of The Washington Sentinel an ethnic-based constituency; German-Americans.

Aligning with the Democrats in advocating for a “non-intervention policy in the South by the President”, The Sentinel supported Frederick Douglass’ appointment as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia proclaiming to those who marginalized Douglass, “Down with your aristocratic notions, and up with the colored brother, who has always been so dear to you!”

From The Washington Sentinel, March 17, 1877…

Marshal Fred. Douglass

The President has appointed Frederick Douglass, the well-known colored orator, and who stands at the head of his race in this country, Marshal of the District of Columbia. This position was lately occupied by Grant’s brother-in-law, Sharpe, and is considered the best in the District. Indeed, it is ranked immediately after that of a Cabinet officer, and for the last forty years the District Marshal has, at levees at the White House, been in the habit of exercising functions of a Grand Chamberlain, such as introducing visitors to the President, etc.

When it is considered that but for the colored people the Republican party would be nowhere, the appointment of Douglass must be regarded as a great stroke of policy. The intended non-intervention policy in the South by the President might have been considered by many – the New York Sun included – as inimical to the colored race. But Hayes certainly has by that appointment at one blow destroyed all such suppositions. He has out-done Grant entirely.

When Douglass returned as one of the St. Domingo Commissioners to Washington, Grant invited all the Commissioners to dinner — except him. For social equality has never as yet been accorded by the leading Radicals to the negroes, and to that fact Pinchback must ascribe to his non-conformation more than to anything else.

The National Republican says in regard to the appointment:

“The business men seem dissatisfied and the members of the bar are almost unanimously against it, and will send up a delegation before the Senate committee to show cause why Mr. Douglass should not be confirmed. * * * The claim that he is too theoretical. * * * Chief Justice Carrter remarked yesterday, “The Marshal of the District should be a man thoroughly practical and business-like.”

Well, was Mr. Sharpe, who during a whole year never was eight days present at the court-house, and entirely left matters to his deputy, more “practical and business like” than Douglass?

That will not do! Douglass is as good as any of you! And what becomes of your Civil Rights bill? Where is your love for the negro, without whose assistance none of you would be in office? Down with your aristocratic notions, and up with the colored brother, who has always been so dear to you!

The National Republican further says that “Mr. Douglass need to not necessarily be an adjunct for the receptions at the White House.”

Why, brother Murtagh? Is not Fred Douglass as good and respectable as you and your friends, Shepherd, Babcock, Belknap, etc Is that the language of a Republican organ?

Frederick Douglass was once a slave. So was the present Grand Vizier of Turkey, Edhem Pasha, whose biography we publish to-day in our foreign news column. The “former state of servitude” ought to have no weight with our Republican brethren!

In short we believe that President Hayes is sincere in “wiping out the color line, and the sooner the Radical aristocratic ladies and gentlemen acquiesce in that policy, the better will be for them. We hope that our Democratic Senators will not commit the blunder of voting against that appointment. If Mr. Hayes desires to put colored men into positions formerly occupied y Grant’s relatives and friend he will only have given another proof that he is earnestly in favor of civil service reform. Besides the President ought to have the privilege of selecting his own household – and the District Marshal almost belongs to it – independent of race, color and previous condition of servitude!”

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Lost in 19th century Anacostia, “The President’s [Cleveland] Visit to Mr. Fred Douglass” [Washington Post, Aug. 13, 1886]

Col. Daniel S. Lamont, got lost in 19th century Anacostia.

While trying to confirm President Hayes visited Douglass at Cedar Hill, I came across this news item telling of President Grover Cleveland (the 22nd and, later, the 24th President) and his trusted friend Daniel S. Lamont getting, what appears to be, lost in 19th century Anacostia, lost on the Southside.

In Life and Times Douglass lauds Cleveland, a Democrat and former NY Governor. Cleveland, first elected in 1884 after defeating former Speaker of the House James Blaine, kept Douglass in his position as Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia for a year into his administration. Elected on a reformist platform with the 1883 Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act still in implementation, upon taking office Cleveland announced that no political appointee would lose their job solely on political reasons, competency was the criteria. With that Douglass was apparently qualified to serve, albeit on a low level, in his Democratic administration.


The President’s Visit to Mr. Fred Douglass.

The President once visited the home of Fred Douglass in a very informal and unexpected way. He was out driving one afternoon with Col. Lamont and instead of going in a northwest direction drover over the Eastern Branch into the little village of Anacostia. After making a few circuits of the roads, Albert, who was on the box, turned into a side road for the purpose of making a short cut. Presently he pulled up before a modest country house, where the road ended. He had lost his way.

“Who lives here?” said Col, Lamont, as he leaned over the side of the carriage and addressed a little boy who was gazing in wonder at the handsome equipage which had so suddenly appeared.

“Mr. Fred Douglass,” was the reply.

The President looked around him and smiled. “Drive on,” he said to the coachman, and a moment later the carriage was rumbling down the hill.

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