Ready to hail a lo­cal hero

Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day set for Sept. 23

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EASTON — The Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Honor So­ci­ety, Town of Easton and Tal­bot County Free Li­brary in­vite Tal­bot County res­i­dents and vis­i­tors to cel­e­brate the life and legacy of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass from 10 a.m. un­til 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23.

The event fea­tures a pa­rade, wel­come cer­e­mony, chil­dren’s vil­lage, live en­ter­tain­ment, mar­ket­place, lec­tures, art ex­hibit, and a tour of “The Hill.” All ac­tiv­i­ties are free and open to the pub­lic.

Tal­bot County’s most fa­mous na­tive son, Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, was born a slave in 1818. As a young child, Dou­glass faced over whelm­ing ad­ver­sity. He sel­dom saw his mother who worked as a field hand, barely had enough clothes to cover his body, and con­sumed food from a trough like a farm­yard an­i­mal. As he grew old enough to work, Dou­glass found him­self un­der the con­trol of mul­ti­ple masters — some tol­er­ant and others im­pla­ca­ble.

De­spite his en­vi­ron­ment and strug­gles, Dou­glass re­mained stead­fast and en­rap­tured by a burn­ing de­sire to read and write. While Thomas Auld’s wife So­phie read the Bi­ble to Dou­glass, he be­gan to ques­tion the spell­ing of the words she spoke. The mo­ment Auld re­al­ized his wife was teach­ing Fred­er­ick to read, he im­me­di­ately halted the ses­sions. How­ever, Dou­glass was de­ter­mined; he con­tin­ued to find ways to learn — from the boys he played with and some­times trad­ing bread just for an op­por­tu­nity to look at their school­books. At the age of twleve, he used his sav­ings (fifty cents) to pur­chase a copy of the Columbian Ora­tor, a book filled with fa­mous speeches. Af­ter in­tensely study­ing the book, sharp­en­ing his skills and gain­ing knowl­edge of the world at large, it was ap­par­ent to Dou­glass that he could not live his life as a slave.

In 1838, he bor­rowed iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pa­pers of a free black sailor and took a train head­ing nor th, stop­ping in New Bed­ford, Mass. Find­ing

free­dom was a mon­u­men­tal task but it was just the be­gin­ning for Dou­glass. Within a few years, he be­came fa­mous as an abo­li­tion­ist, world­known ora­tor and au­thor. He was such a bril­liant ora­tor that peo­ple doubted he lived as a slave. As one Amer­i­can ob­server re­called, “He was more than six feet in height, and his ma­jes­tic form, as he rose to speak, straight as an ar­row, mus­cu­lar, yet lithe and grace­ful, his flash­ing eye, and more than all, his voice, that ri­valed Daniel Web­ster’s in its rich­ness and in depth and sonorous­ness of its ca­dences, made up such an ideal of an ora­tor as the lis­ten­ers never for­get.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Cor­nell Univer­sity Press, Dou­glass served as an agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slaver y So­ci­ety, edited four newspapers and cham­pi­oned many re­form move­ments. He was the only man who played a prom­i­nent role in the 1848 meet­ing in Seneca Falls that for­mally launched the women’s rights movement. A staunch de­fender of the Lib­erty and Repub­li­can par­ties, Dou­glass held sev­eral po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments, fre­quently cor­re­sponded with lead­ing politi­cians, and ad­vised Pres­i­dents Lin­coln, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, and Har­ri­son. He met with John Brown be­fore the abortive raid on Harpers Ferry, helped to re­cruit African Amer­i­can troops dur­ing the Civil War, at­tended na­tional black con­ven­tions held be­tween 1840 and 1895, and served as U.S. Am­bas­sador to Haiti.

The wealth of Dou­glass’s ac­com­plish­ments are marked in our na­tion’s his­tory, books, doc­u­men­taries, movies, and mu­se­ums. He spent his en­tire life read­ing, writ­ing, lec­tur­ing, and work­ing for jus­tice and equal­ity for all. His elo­quent and bril­liant ro­mance with words in­spired the minds and touched the hearts of peo­ple of all ages around the world. His quo­ta­tions are time­less, re­flect his strength, and breathe of his in­tel­li­gence and tal­ent, which en­abled him to share his thoughts, prin­ci­ples, and con­science.

Dou­glass’ story will al­ways be mean­ing­ful and time­less be­cause his life’s jour­ney made the world a bet­ter place. No one knows the story of Dou­glass bet­ter than Ken­neth Mor­ris Jr. Trav­el­ing from the West Coast to serve as the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day’s key­note speaker, his lecture will be­gin at 1 p.m. at the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary. Ken is the great­great-great grand­son of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, great-great grand­son of Booker T. Wash­ing­ton, and pres­i­dent of the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Fam­ily Ini­tia­tives.

“This year we are hon­ored and priv­i­leged to have a de­scen­dent from two of the most im­por­tant names in Amer­i­can His­tory. Ken­neth Mor­ris Jr. has em­braced his her­itage by the found­ing of the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Fam­ily Ini­tia­tives, a 501c3 pub­lic char­ity. The shar­ing of knowl­edge was at the core of the work and philoso­phies of both Fred­er­ick Dou­glass and Booker T. Wash­ing­ton and resides at the heart of the fam­ily’s work today in hu­man traf­fick­ing and other hu­man rights chal­lenges,” Eric Low­ery, pres­i­dent of the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Honor So­ci­ety, said.

Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day kicks off with a pa­rade at 10 a.m. (Glen­wood Av­enue to Wash­ing­ton to Fed­eral streets). The wel­come cer­e­mony be­gins at 10:30 a.m. at the Tal­bot County Court House by the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass mon­u­ment with Mistress of Cer­e­monies Jaylen Howie, a se­nior at Easton High School. The Easton Mid­dle School Band and Kait­lyn Cherry will pro­vide mu­sic. Guest speak­ers in­clude Robert Wil­ley, Mayor of the Town of Easton; Jen­nifer Wil­liams, Tal­bot County Coun­cil; Eric Low­ery, Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Honor So­ci­ety; Kelly Grif­fith, Tal­bot County Pub­lic Schools; and Dana New­man, Tal­bot County Free Li­brary. Rev­erend Roland Brown, Union Bap­tist Church, will pro­vide the In­vo­ca­tion. Bill Peak, Tal­bot County’s Li­brary Guy, will read “Fred­er­ick Dou­glass,” a poem by Robert Hay­den. Easton High School ROTC will present the col­ors and the Pledge of Al­le­giance led by BAAM.

The Chil­dren’s Vil­lage (11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) will be lo­cated on the front lawn of the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary. High­lights in­clude a va­ri­ety of hands-on fun and vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ences. Watch, lis­ten, color and learn ac­tiv­i­ties in­spire chil­dren and fam­ily mem­bers to explore his­tory, dis­cover their cre­ativ­ity, and reap re­wards (prizes) for learn­ing about Dou­glass. Chil­dren will re­ceive a com­pli­men­tary In His Own Words Color­ing Book de­pict­ing a few of his fa­mous quotes, images, and more. “Where in the World is Fred­er­ick Dou­glass?” of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover places Dou­glass trav­eled. Face paint­ing, bub­bles, bal­loons, and col­ors fill the vil­lage and chil­dren will love watch­ing the new Fred­er­ick Dou­glass video.

Dr. Lorenzo Hughes has an ex­cit­ing lineup of per­form­ers at his en­ter­tain­ment stage lo­cated on West Street be­tween Dover Street and Glen­wood Av­enue. The lineup in­cludes Union Bap­tist Church Mass Choir, Easton Mid­dle School Choir, Scott’s United Methodist Youth Choir, and DJ Allen But­ler, Kim Wil­son-Blake Praise Dance, and Hip-Hop Artists Amil­lion the Poet, and Ja­maal “Mr. Root” Col­lier. The stage is open from 11:30 a.m. un­til 4 p.m.

Cre­ated in the spirit of the tele­vised “Amaz­ing Race,” a set of clues will lead par­tic­i­pants to amaz­ing pieces of Tal­bot County’s his­tory. A pack­age of maps and clues await your ar­rival at the reg­is­tra­tion desk lo­cated in front of the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary start­ing at 11:30 a.m. Dis­cover new facts and his­tory about the county and Dou­glass while scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to walk away with ex­cit­ing prizes. It is great fun for fam­ily mem­bers and/or friends alike.

Lo­cated on West Street be­tween Glen­wood and Dover streets, across from the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary, the mar­ket­place will fea­ture re­gional food ven­dors, re­tail ven­dors, and lo­cal and re­gional or­ga­ni­za­tions. Fes­ti­val­go­ers will be tempted by the tra­di­tional East­ern Shore cui­sine, while re­tail, crafts, and other ven­dors of­fer great mer­chan­dise, and not-for­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions share vol­un­teer and com­mu­nity op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The Tal­bot County Free Li­brary, lo­cated on the cor­ner of Dover and West streets, will host the lecture se­ries in their large meet­ing room. Ken­neth Mor­ris Jr.’s lecture is 1 p.m. un­til 2 p.m. with ques­tions and an­swers from 2 to 2:15 p.m. Art­works for Free­dom will host a panel dis­cus­sion from 2:30 to 4 p.m. ad­dress­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing. Pan­elists in­clude: Steven J. Hess, law en­force­ment co­or­di­na­tor and vic­tim-wit­ness man­ager, U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice; Michelle Hard­ing, se­nior leader of Church of King, Founder and Pres­i­dent of Life by De­sign, and mem­ber of the East­ern Shore Hu­man Traf­fick­ing Task Force; and Ed Thomas, co-chair­man of the East­ern Shore Hu­man Traf­fick­ing Task Force and Anti-Hu­man Traf­fick­ing Co­or­di­na­tor, Aglow MidAt­lantic. Mod­er­a­tor Joseph Prud’homme is the found­ing di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute for Reglion, Pol­i­tics and Cul­ture at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege in Ch­ester­town and as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence.

A spe­cial ex­hibit, “The Anon­ime” (Anony­mous) se­ries by the Al­ba­nian artist Brikena Boci is a col­lec­tion of four­teen hand em­broi­dered faces of women who the artist has memo­ri­al­ized in her own way. Many of these women dur­ing and af­ter the war in Kosovo in 1998-1999 found them­selves as refugees in Al­ba­nia. This mid­dle Euro­pean countr y was in eco­nomic ruin when it emerged from com­mu­nism in 1992. High rates of poverty and un­em­ploy­ment, a crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture and cor­rupt elected of­fi­cials made the na­tion a fer­tile ground for child traf­fick­ing. At the age of 16, Brikena and her fam­ily found them­selves help­ing these refugees and hear­ing their sto­ries, which made a huge im­pact on the artist’s soul. She de­vel­oped a pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion in her art us­ing tex­tiles and paint to cre­ate vi­brant, whim­si­cal por­traits of em­pow­ered fe­male fig­ures. The ex­hibit, pro­vided as a cour­tesy of Art­works for Free­dom, is on dis­play at the Tal­bot County Free Li­brar y.

Pro­fes­sor Dale Glen­wood Green will lead a guided walk­ing tour of “The Hill,” be­lieved to be the old­est free African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity in the na­tion. The tour is free and open to the pub­lic. Par­tic­i­pants will meet at the Tal­bot County Court House and de­part for the tour at 4 p.m. A new highlight of this year’s tour is an open house at the Tal­bot County Women’s Club (18 Tal­bot Lane) un­til 5:30 p.m.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day, please visit www.fred­er­ick dou­glass­day.com, www.fred er­ick­dou­glasshon­or­so­ci­ety. org, or fol­low the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day Face­book page.

PHOTO BY CHRIS POLK

Pho­to­graphic por­trait of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CON­NOLLY

The bronze statue of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass is framed by Amer­i­can flags on June 30, just be­fore the July 4 week­end.

PHOTO BY CHRIS POLK

Devel Wal­ley, left, gets a chance to see the Bi­ble that be­longed to Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, on loan from the Na­tional Park Service, on dis­play in 2015 at the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary in honor of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day.

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