Tag Archives: Frederick Douglass
Cleveland Park

An Octoroon in Cleveland

The residents upon Prospect, Erie, and Huron streets and that vicinity may have frequently met in their walks, or seen pass their doors, a bright, intelligent, active little girl, with long, black curls, a complexion not yellow or brown, but a combination of pure black and white, she being always accompanied by a grave and dignified colored servant of perhaps 45 years of age. There is a family history connected with that little girl which will not be uninteresting.

The girl is an Octoroon, and the daughter of a very wealthy Mississippi planter, who has a plantation about ten miles from Natchez, where his family of slaves number about two hundred. This gentleman is now about 80 years old, and the girl about eleven. She was the daughter of a favorite slave of his, and he desired to have her well educated and bro’t up away from the influences of slavery, for, while he is a large slaveholder himself, he is not blind to the disadvantages under which she would necessarily undergo if she were to remain in a slave State. For several years she has lived in a separate establishment in Natchez devoted exclusively to her use.

This year her father concluded to send her to the North to be educated. Accordingly, in April last his agent came to Cincinnati in search of a favorable location. He was referred, by Cincinnati parties, to Rev. J.C.White of this city, and came to see him accordingly. Arriving here upon a Saturday, he made inquiries the next day for Mr. W.’s church, and attended service there in the evening. It so happened that the Reverend gentleman that evening preached upon slavery,and those acquainted with his style, need not be told that his bold and scathing denunciation of the system was not calculated to prejudice a Southerner in his favor. The agent listened for a time, and left the church in high dudgeon.


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Frederick Douglass Statue

Frederick Douglass’ Long Path to the Capitol

On June 19, 2013 descendants, national leaders and officials gathered to celebrate the placement of a statue in honor of Frederick Douglass in the State Capitol Building in Washington D.C. The nearly two ton monument features Douglass holding a paper is one hand with his other hand on a lectern complete with quill and ink.

The Frederick Douglass statue in the Emancipation Hall of the capitol’s visitor center is the fourth dedicated to an African American leader — it joined statues of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Sojourner Truth.

The placement of his statue follows a a drawn out struggle between the District of Columbia and congress. In 2012, the Senate finally approved moving the Douglass statue from an office building in Washington to its new location in the visitors center. The debate over whether or not D.C. could move a statue into the capitol building centered around Republicans opposition to D.C. statehood. Prior to the Douglass statue’s placement, only states have been granted the right to place statues in the capitol.


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A Favorite Pro-Slavery Argument

Slaves are better fed, clothed and treated, and more kindly cared for in old age, than the majority of Northern laborers.

– Favorite Pro-Slavery Argument

If so, it is astonishing how little they appreciate the blessing of their condition.

To get out of it, one secretes himself in the hold of a vessel: another boxes himself in a case: a third threads woods and swamps in the dark, guided only by the North star: a fourth swims rivers and risks bloodhounds and rifle bullets sooner than be taken: a fifth disguises himself and sets out for a land of strangers without a penny in his pocket: a sixth plunges in the river at Wilkes-Barre, preferring drowning to capture.

One day it is a boy that has run away, the next day a girl, then a man and his wife: then a mother and her children: then a superannuated old man. Last week we heard of six from Virginia, yesterday of eleven from Arkansas, today of a dozen form Kentucky. One is half naked, another has a scarred cheek, a third a branded arm, a fourth a mangled back, a fifth a bullet in his leg.


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Sir Samuel Cunard

Cunard and Mrs. C.E. Putnam in 1859

The Cunard Steamship Company has been receiving a severe reproof from the London Economist for its concessions to what are termed, in England, American prejudices against traveling and domicilating with people of color. It seems that a colored woman, Mrs. Putnam, with her party, had engaged places on board the Cunard packet for England.

Before embarking, however, she received the following notice:

British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Office
90 State Street, Boston
October 27, 1859

To: Mrs. C.E. Putnam and party, Salem:

For your information we desire to inform you that a separate table will be provided for yourself and party on board the Europa, hence to Liverpool, where everything will be furnished you that first cabin passengers are entitled to; the person who applied for your tickets did not state the fact that the party were colored, otherwise we should have informed you.

Should this interfere with your expectations, please apply at this office, and we will refund the passage money.

–E.C. & J.G. BATES.

Mrs. Putnam protested, but could not delay her journey, and the separation from the other passengers was enforced. On her arrival in England some of her friends took up the matter, and laid the case before Sir Samuel Cunard.


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Public Sentiment in Maryland in July 1862

A correspondent of the Philadelphia Press writing from Frederick, Md., says:

‘The people agree that our government has been far too lenient towards the rebels in the valley of Virginia, and that the government,if it expects to conquer the rebels, must treat them in a far different way than it has done heretofore. They think that, after the treatment our forces have received, no measures are too harsh for the rebels, and the sooner we stop ‘playing war’ with them the better for ourselves and the country.

On the Negro question a great change has come over this part of the country, and those who were a year ago counted our most ultra pro-slavery men, are now on the other sideband do not hesitate to declare that if the ultimatum must come at last either to free and arm the slaves, or let the Union be dissolved,they are willing that the former plan should prevail.

I was talking to one of the richest and most respected citizens of the place today,and in answer to the question what rethought of the President signing the bill forth abolishment of slavery in the District of Columbia replied somewhat as follows:

Well,sir, one year ago I was very ultra on this question, and would not rest till I had denounced any proposition made, to free the negro in any place. I was then as good a Union man as now. But I have had my eyes opened, and having seen the barbarous way the rebels have treated Union soldiers, I do not hesitate to say that I would do anything in my power, even to arming the Negroes, to crush out this rebellion. President Lincoln is honest and I believe that when he signed the bill for the abolishment of slavery in the District of Columbia, he did it with the consciousness that the majority of the people would approve it, and therefore I approve of his course.

This is only one in a hundred cases of a like character that I have come in contact with, and goes to show the wonderful change now working in this part of Maryland.Verily the world moves.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: Douglass’ Monthly
Date: July, 1862
Title: Public Sentiment in Maryland
Location: Rochester, New York

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