The life of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was a remarkable journey that began in a cold cabin near Tuckahoe Creek and east of Easton, Maryland. Among the places where his story played out are Talbot County including Easton and St. Michaels, Baltimore, New York, Massachusetts, western Europe, Canada, Rochester, and Washington, D.C.
We went on a search on the web to see what events are taking place in those cities and elsewhere.
St Michael/Easton/Easton Shore
Douglass spent his first twenty years in bondage, most of them in Talbot County. These places in Maryland have put together a very impressive list of events, including one on the 14th.
Enslaved and young, Douglass lived here from 1825 to 1833. He learned to read and write in the port city. Douglass returned to Baltimore in 1835 and learned the trade of caulking.
We are also very impressed with Baltimore’s events. The New York Times noticed this and placed them in a Top 20 of places to go to in 2018.
New York City
In 1838, Douglass slipped away from Baltimore and arrived in New York. He married Anna Murray there and met some supportive people including David Ruggles, whose home at 36 Lispenard Street was a stop on the Underground Railroad. A fugitive could hide in Manhattan but so could the bounty hunters. Douglass and his wife made their way to New Bedford.
A strong and supportive African American community lived in this whaling port on the southern coast of Massachusetts. He began his life here as an abolitionist and worked as a caulker on the wharves. The New Bedford Historical Society has a terrific brochure.
Douglass and his family moved from New Bedford to Lynn in 1841. Lynn was also a coastal town. Although he was away much of the time on the lecture circuit, this was where he called home 1841 to 1847.
Thomas Dalton wrote, “Frederick Douglass: The Lynn Years.”
Douglass spent three years in western Europe where he gave speeches in England, Scotland and Ireland. British citizens raise money to gain his manumission and supported his cause.
Douglass was indefatigable with his traveling. Returning to the States and finding a home in Rochester must have seemed like a great relief. He and his family called Rochester home from 1847 to 1872. Douglass started the North Star newspaper and was laid to rest here in 1895.
Rochester, whose population today is equal parts black and white and a major immigrant community, is a city that knows a thing or two about the struggle for civil rights. Susan B. Anthony’s historic home is in Rochester.
Rochester officials proclaimed 2018 as “The Year of Frederick Douglass.”Rochester has a wide variety of events, including these.
The main event is the weekend of February 17 and 18 at Douglass’s historic home in Anacostia. Among the special guests are David Blight.
Be sure and check out John Mueller’s terrific blog coverage. John is very active in the community there and is the author of "The Lion of Anacostia."
320 A Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
This lesser known museum was Douglass’s first home in Washington. He lived here for about seven years before making the move to the quiet hills of Anacostia.
Tours are scheduled by appointment only. A piece by WAMU’s Armando Trull reports the building, which is owned by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, was up for sale.
The Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center is housed in Twin Oaks, the summer cottage built for Douglass in 1894-1895. Major Charles Douglass, one of his sons, established Highland Beach a few years earlier. Overlooking the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, the home is multi-bayed in the Queen Anne style. According to the NRHP form, greats such as Langston Hughes, Paul Dunbar, Booker T. Washington and Mary Church Terrell summered here. Captain Douglass built the house for this father. Sadly, Douglass slipped away to the immortals before the house was finished.
No events that I know of but the City is opening the Freedom House this month on weekends.
I must also say it would be great to erect a historical marker at King and Pitt for his Emancipation Day Speech.
It warms the heart to see such an outpouring of events for the bicentennial of Douglass’s birthday. I'm sure I missed some, so let me know.