Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
- Dec 21, 2015
Frederick Douglass’ 200th Birthday Invites Remembrance and Reflection
This Douglass Day, celebrate an icon’s bicentennial while helping to transcribe the nation’s black history
In pictures, the eyes of Frederick Douglass, the iconic enslaved man who escaped and became an international abolitionist and activist, blaze from a stern face, framed by a lion’s mane of kinky hair. Douglass (1818-1895) once said: “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”
This month, the nation prepares to celebrate the 200th birthday of this man, whose eloquent advocacy of freedom and equality for blacks and women continues to resonate as Americans navigate a society still roiled by racial tensions in 2018.
“It unfortunately seems very familiar when we read about a lot of the history that Frederick Douglass was involved in,” says Jim Casey, co-director of the Colored Conventions Project (CCP). The organization got its start in 2012 when a group of graduate students, fascinated by the black political conventions held beginning in 1830 and continuing until after the Civil War, came together to bring “buried African American History to digital life.”
Free African-Americans held some 400 state and national conventions to strategize on how to achieve justice, education and equal rights through the 1920s. Casey explains that one of the reasons the CCP became interested in Douglass is that it found evidence that he attended the conventions for some 40 years, from 1843 through 1883. That’s a time period that included some of the nation’s most contentious history, dating from before the Civil War and including the struggles that followed for many years afterwards, and which arguably persist to this day.
More Here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/frederick-douglass-200th-birthday-invites-remembrance-and-reflection-180968100/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=socialmedia
A cartes-de-visite of Frederick Douglass and his grandson Joseph Douglass. (NMAAHC, gift of Dr. Charlene Hodges Byrd)
A page from My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass, 1817 (NMAAHC, gift of Elizabeth Cassell)
Frederick Douglass Harper’s Weekly: Journal of Civilization, November 14, 1883 (NMAAHC, gift of Joele and Fred Michaud)
A major part of this year’s celebration is the Smithsonian’s transcribe-a-thon, where participants are being invited to help transcribe the U.S. Freedmen’s Bureau Papers as part of African American History Museum’s Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project. “So this is one of those collaborations where we’re both going to benefit down the road,” explains the museum’s genealogist Hollis Gentry, standing in the Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center. It is a room at the museum that looks like a library, with several computers where visitors can receive guidance on researching their family history and conducting oral interviews. There’s also instruction on learning how to preserve your own family films and photographs. An interactive digital experience, Transitions in Freedom: The Syphax Family, guides viewers through the history of African-American families from slavery to freedom through archival documents, maps and other records. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/frederick-douglass-200th-birthday-invites-remembrance-and-reflection-180968100/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=socialmedia