The Frederick Douglass Honor Society, the Town of Easton, Talbot County Government, and Talbot County Free Library are pleased to announce their annual Frederick Douglass Day celebration will take place on Saturday, September 25, 2021. This virtual event is brimming with awe-inspiring creativity, world-wide participation, and an abundance of history, entertainment, and fun for people of all ages.
The story of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) is immensely inspiring as his life embodies the American dream of surmounting immense obstacles to achieve greatness. His many triumphs changed the way the nation regarded oppression and equality. An abolitionist, statesman, and self-educated man, Frederick Douglass became one of the most prominent Americans of his time. He was a masterful writer, world-famous orator, an advisor to presidents, U.S. Marshall, Ambassador, Bank President, and the first African American to have his name placed in nomination as a presidential candidate for the United States. Douglass’s publications and speeches influenced the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Constitutional Amendments, known as the Reconstruction Amendments.
More than most, Frederick Douglass was the author of his life, educating himself, planning and effecting his escape from slavery, and creating his subsequent career as an abolitionist and advocate for equal rights for all oppressed people. His lifetime spanned the Civil War, the end of slavery, and the beginning of segregation. His legacy is timeless – a man for all seasons whose writings to this day inspire people around the world. He is far and away Talbot County’s most famous native son.
A broad-shouldered man with wide-set eyes and a deep and memorable voice, Frederick Douglass stood six feet, two inches tall. He was a devoted father and family man. He and his first wife, Anna Murray Douglass, raised three sons and a daughter. Their children worked closely with Douglass as educators, printers, and business correspondents. Anna played many roles, including accomplished chef, business manager, and anti-slavery campaigner. She was also an important conductor on the Underground Railroad. Financially savvy, Anna saved enough money to finance Frederick Douglass’s escape to New York, wearing a sailor uniform she sewed for him for his disguise.
Twelve years ago, the Town of Easton and the Frederick Douglass Honor Society formed a partnership to bring the Frederick Douglass statue project to a successful conclusion. Over the following eighteen months, they approved a sculptor, secured a permanent location for the statue, and planned a four-day celebration known as “Douglass Returns”. Overwhelming financial support was received from the community, state government and agencies, and generous donors from near and far. Ten years ago this year, on June 18, 2011, the statue of Frederick Douglass was unveiled before a crowd of more than 3,000. Dr. David Blight of Yale and former Governor Martin O’Malley spoke about the depth of Douglass’s courage, the significance of his life, his messages that have withstood the test of time, and his lifelong fight for justice. The impact of Douglass’s fight for equality and justice holds a permanent place in America’s history, one that all visitors are reminded of when they catch sight of his statue on the courthouse lawn.
The virtual event, which goes live at 10 a.m. online at www.FrederickDouglassHonorSociety.com or www.FrederickDouglassDay.com , features four main components: a Welcome Ceremony with Mistress of Ceremonies Brenda Wooden, President of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, a libation ceremony led by Harriette Lowery, the Morgan State University Choir, Dr. David Blight, Governor Larry Hogan, Terron Quailes, Rabbi Peter Hyman, Phylicia Rashad, former Governor Martin O’Malley, Professor John Stauffer, Mayor Robert Willey, Talbot County Councilman Corey Pack, Talbot County Free Library Director Dana Newman, Talbot County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Helga Einhorn, Cameron McCoy, Brandon Coleman, and recollections from the “Douglass Returns” celebration.
The Talbot County Free Library (11 AM) highlights Kenneth Morris, Jr. (Co-founder and President of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives) sharing his story about Anna Murray Douglass, his great-great-great grandmother. Laura Era, local artist, teacher and owner of Troika Gallery will unveil her portrait in oils of Anna Murray Douglass. The portrait will be presented to Director Dana Newman and donated to the Talbot County Free Library. Following the unveiling, Dr. David Blight (Director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition), Dr. John Stauffer (Sumner R. and Marshall S. Kates Professor of English and of African and African-American Studies, Harvard University) and Dr. Celeste-Marie Bernier (Professor of U.S. and Atlantic Studies, University of Edinburgh) will review one of each other’s published books about Frederick Douglass.
The Children’s Village (11 AM) provides great entertainment for young children including free Frederick Douglass coloring books, a map game showing where Frederick Douglass lived and traveled, story time with Shauna Beulah, Talbot County Free Library- St. Michaels Branch Librarian, Zoom background, memes and opportunities to win fun experience based prizes from a visit to the Maryland Zoo Baltimore to the National Aquarium, a ride aboard the Oxford Bellevue Ferry, membership to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, gift certificates and more.
The Frederick Douglass Honor Society invites you to virtually join them at 11:30 AM as they introduce their new video “The World Honors Frederick Douglass”. This film brings together people and places across our nation and abroad paying homage to Frederick Douglass and the footprints he has left over the past two centuries.
The 2021 Frederick Douglass Lecture features Historian and Pulitzer Prize Winner Dr. David Blight and Keidrick Roy, a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Harvard University. The virtual lecture will go live at 1 PM. Following the lecture, questions can be presented to Dr. Blight and Keidrick Roy on the Frederick Douglass Facebook page.
At sunset on the evenings of September 24 and September 25, a special illumination of Frederick Douglass images will be shown on the front of the Talbot County Court House. The presentation is provided by Patrick Rogan, a designer of exhibitions for museums. His firm, Assemble, works with institutions to share compelling stories through images and other multimedia tools.
Last year, thousands of people visited our virtual Frederick Douglass Day events. Favorable comments were received from around the globe. “With so many viewers enjoying our 2020 Virtual Frederick Douglass Day celebration, the Frederick Douglass Honor Society will make all components of this year’s event viewable on our website for the next eleven months”, said Brenda Wooden, President of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society.
All events, timeline, and virtual instructions can be viewed at www.FrederickDouglassDay.com and www.FrederickDouglassHonorSociety.com. The virtual event is made possible by the Talbot County Arts Council, Maryland Arts Council, Paul and Joanne Prager, Blue Point Hospitality, Rise Up Coffee, The Town of Easton, Bay Photographic Works, Dr. Dodson House, the Star Democrat, Dock Street Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. Herb Miller, Mr. & Mrs. Richard Tilghman, Mr. & Mrs. Tom Hill, Jennifer Stanley, Queenstown Bank, and other community donors.