Cel­e­brat­ing a his­tory maker

Crowds brave hot Septem­ber in honor of abo­li­tion­ist Fred­er­ick Dou­glass

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS POLK cpolk@star­dem.com

EAS­TON — It was a day for Tal­bot County’s na­tive son.

Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, the leg­endary for­mer slave, abo­li­tion­ist, au­thor, states­man and more has a day named for him every year in his na­tive Tal­bot County.

Satur­day, Sept. 23, in Eas­ton, there was a pa­rade and wel­come cer­e­mony on the court­house green, near the statue of Dou­glass that was erected six years ago.

The court­house green hap­pens to be near the place where Dou­glass had been jailed briefly in 1836 for talk­ing to a young slave about es­cap­ing, the jail be­ing on the north side of the court­house.

From his jail cell, per­haps Dou­glass could have seen where the cer­e­mony was held.

That area also is near where a reg­u­lar slave

mar­ket once op­er­ated, on the south side of the court­house. Per­haps Dou­glass was able to see or hear that from his cell, back in 19th cen­tury Eas­ton.

Satur­day’s wel­come cer­e­mony in­cluded prayers the by Rev. Roland Brown from Union Bap­tist Church; pre­sen­ta­tion of the col­ors by the Eas­ton High School NJROTC; the pledge of al­le­giance led by the youth of BAAM (Build­ing African Amer­i­can Minds); Jaylen Howie as mis­tress of cer­e­monies; and guest speak­ers Tal­bot County Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Jen­nifer Wil­liams, Eas­ton Mayor Robert Wil­ley, Tal­bot County Free Li­brary Di­rec­tor Dana New­man, Tal­bot County Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Kelly Grif­fith, Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Honor So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Eric Low­ery and Bill Peak, Tal­bot’s “Li­brary Guy” who read “Fred­er­ick Dou­glass,” a poem by Robert Hay­den.

Mu­sic was pro­vided by so­prano Kate­lyn Cherry and mem­bers of BAAM.

Other live en­ter­tain­ment held out­doors on the blocked-off North West Street came from the Union Bap­tist Church Mass Choir, Scott’s United Methodist Youth Choir, DJ Allen But­ler, Kim Blake-Wil­son Praise Dance, hip-hop artists Amil­lion the Poet and Ja­maal “Mr. Root” Col­lier.

Mas­ter of cer­e­monies for the en­ter­tain­ment por­tion was Lorenzo Hughes.

There was a steady stream of visi­tors to the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Room at the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary for a spe­cial ex­hibit fea­tur­ing items on loan from the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Home in Washington, D.C., in part­ner­ship with the Na­tional Park Ser­vice.

Ar­ti­facts in­cluded a walk­ing stick that be­longed to Dou­glass. It was made from wood in a house that had been con­structed by early abo­li­tion­ist John Brown.

Also, agri­cul­tural tools and other finds that had been used by the en­slaved at the Wye House Plan­ta­tion were on dis­play, among other items from the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal digs there.

As a child, Dou­glass had been a slave at the Wye House plan­ta­tion and could have known the work­ers who used the farm­ing tools.

Lec­tur­ers in­cluded Dr. Mark Leone of the Univer­sity of Mary­land’s Depart­ment of An­thro­pol­ogy, who over­sees, in part, the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tions at the Wye House Plan­ta­tion and Eas­ton’s “The Hill” neigh­bor­hood.

The Hill neigh­bor­hood also was show­cased. Late in the af­ter­noon, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor Dale Glen­wood Green of Mor­gan State Univer­sity gave walk­ing tours of sev­eral blocks of the area.

More than 150 peo­ple packed the li­brary’s main meet­ing room in the af­ter­noon to hear Ken­neth B. Mor­ris Jr., Dou­glass scholar and great-great-great­grand­son of Dou­glass.

Mor­ris also is great-great grand­son of Booker T. Washington and pres­i­dent of the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Fam­ily Ini­tia­tives.

Art­Works for Free­dom, which is host­ing a month­long ex­hibit on hu­man traf­fick­ing in the Water­fowl Fes­ti­val Build­ing on Har­ri­son Street, con­trib­uted to Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day by host­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion and panel dis­cus­sion on hu­man traf­fick­ing and mod­ern-day slaver y.

Speak­ers in­cluded Joseph Prud’homme of Washington Col­lege, Steven Hess of the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice, Dis­trict of Mary­land, and Michele Harding and Ed Thomas of the Eastern Shore Hu­man Traf­fick­ing Task Force.

An ex­hibit of em­broi­dered faces of traf­fick­ing vic­tims by Al­ba­nian artist Brikena Boci also en­hanced visi­tors’ aware­ness.

Ven­dors with food, crafts and other ser­vices were in the mu­nic­i­pal park­ing lot at Dover Street and Glen­wood Av­enue, and young­sters en­joyed the Chil­dren’s Vil­lage with games and ac­tiv­i­ties.

A Fred­er­ick Dou­glass “Amaz­ing Race” of­fered lots of prizes.

Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day is the work of the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Honor So­ci­ety, which is on­line at www. fred­er­ick­dou­glasshon­or­so­ci­ety.org and on Face­book.

Sup­port came from the Mary­land State Arts Coun­cil, the Tal­bot County Arts Coun­cil, Young Au­di­ences Arts for Learn­ing Mary­land, Paul and Joann Prager, APG Me­dia of Ch­e­sa­peake/The Star Demo­crat, Eas­ton Ro­tary Club Youth & Com­mu­nity Fund, the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary, the Town of Eas­ton, St. Matthew United Methodist Church, and a host of pub­lic and pri­vate donors.

PHOTO BY CHRIS POLK

Dur­ing Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day, visi­tors pack the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Room at the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary for a spe­cial ex­hibit fea­tur­ing ar­ti­facts on loan from the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Home in Washington, D.C., in part­ner­ship with the Na­tional Park Ser­vice.

PHO­TOS BY CHRIS POLK

Dur­ing Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day, visi­tors pack the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Room at the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary for a spe­cial ex­hibit fea­tur­ing ar­ti­facts on loan from the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Home in Washington, D.C., in part­ner­ship with the Na­tional Park Ser­vice.

Cazmire Davis, left, and Alana Yzola color stick­ers of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass in the Chil­dren’s Vil­lage Satur­day dur­ing Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day. For every sticker that was col­ored and turned in, an anony­mous donor con­trib­uted $1 to­ward the Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Honor So­ci­ety’s schol­ar­ship fund.

Chris­tiana Davis, left, and her fa­ther, Christo­pher Davis, both of Cam­bridge, color stick­ers of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass in the Chil­dren’s Vil­lage Satur­day dur­ing Fred­er­ick Dou­glass Day.

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