Douglas Boston I, AE458

Douglas Boston I, AE458

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Douglas Boston I, AE458

This aircraft was one of the first Douglas DB-7s to reach Britain after the collapse of France. Given serial number AE458 it was designated as a Boston I.

Frederick Douglass’s “Plea for Freedom of Speech in Boston”

On December 3, 1860, a group of abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass, gathered at a public meeting hall in Boston, Massachusetts, to discuss “How Can American Slavery be Abolished?” Scheduled to coincide with the one-year anniversary of John Brown’s death (what abolitionists referred to as the “martyrdom” of John Brown), the meeting took place only a month after the election of the Republican Abraham Lincoln. The country was coming apart: South Carolina had declared its intention to secede from the Union and it appeared that other southern states would do the same. Congress began considering emergency measures, including a constitutional amendment protecting slavery, hoping to convince the southern states to remain in the Union. Northern public opinion, already deeply divided over the issue of abolition, became a tinderbox of explosive emotions as each side increasingly advocated the use of force in support of their position.

It was in the midst of this cauldron of public debate that Boston abolitionists decided to hold their event, one ostensibly about ending slavery but also one celebrating the violent abolitionist John Brown. Not surprisingly, the meeting attracted members of the public who were opposed to the abolitionist agenda. In fact, the meeting was overwhelmed by a mob seeking to disrupt the event and prevent Frederick Douglass and the other abolitionists from speaking. Opponents filled the hall, shouted down the abolitionists, and mounted the stage. Abolitionist efforts to retake control of the event led to confrontation and chaos. Police, who had done nothing to protect the meeting, eventually intervened and cleared the hall. No one was (seriously) injured, but the anti-abolitionists achieved their goal: The event was completely disrupted and the scheduled discussion of slavery never took place. Newspapers around the country reported on the near riot, with headlines in the New York Tribune blaring, “Freedom of Speech Violated in Boston . . . Police Powerless.”

A few days later, Frederick Douglass delivered a previously scheduled lecture at Boston’s Music Hall. At the end of his prepared remarks, Douglass added a short statement regarding the fundamental importance of freedom of speech and the responsibility of officials to protect free expression from the mob. It is one of the most important statements of free expression in American history—particularly in light of the life and experience of the man who delivered the statement. It is also startlingly timely. As Douglass declared, “[l]iberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist.” His statement is presented below in full:

“A Plea For Freedom of Speech in Boston”

Boston is a great city and Music Hall has a fame almost as extensive as that of Boston. Nowhere more than here have the principles of human freedom been expounded. But for the circumstances already mentioned, it would seem almost presumption for me to say anything here about those principles. And yet, even here, in Boston, the moral atmosphere is dark and heavy. The principles of human liberty, even I correctly apprehended, find but limited support in this hour a trial. The world moves slowly, and Boston is much like the world. We thought the principle of free speech was an accomplished fact. Here, if nowhere else, we thought the right of the people to assemble and to express their opinion was secure. Dr. Channing had defended the right, Mr. Garrison had practically asserted the right, and Theodore Parker had maintained it with steadiness and fidelity to the last.

But here we are to-day contending for what we thought we gained years ago. The mortifying and disgraceful fact stares us in the face, that though Faneuil Hall and Bunker Hill Monument stand, freedom of speech is struck down. No lengthy detail of facts is needed. They are already notorious far more so than will be wished ten years hence.

The world knows that last Monday a meeting assembled to discuss the question: “How Shall Slavery Be Abolished?” The world also knows that that meeting was invaded, insulted, captured by a mob of gentlemen, and thereafter broken up and dispersed by the order of the mayor, who refused to protect it, though called upon to do so. If this had been a mere outbreak of passion and prejudice among the baser sort, maddened by rum and hounded on by some wily politician to serve some immediate purpose, – a mere exceptional affair, – it might be allowed to rest with what has already been said. But the leaders of the mob were gentlemen. They were men who pride themselves upon their respect for law and order.

These gentlemen brought their respect for the law with them and proclaimed it loudly while in the very act of breaking the law. Theirs was the law of slavery. The law of free speech and the law for the protection of public meetings they trampled under foot, while they greatly magnified the law of slavery.

The scene was an instructive one. Men seldom see such a blending of the gentleman with the rowdy, as was shown on that occasion. It proved that human nature is very much the same, whether in tarpaulin or broadcloth. Nevertheless, when gentlemen approach us in the character of lawless and abandoned loafers, – assuming for the moment their manners and tempers, – they have themselves to blame if they are estimated below their quality.

No right was deemed by the fathers of the Government more sacred than the right of speech. It was in their eyes, as in the eyes of all thoughtful men, the great moral renovator of society and government. Daniel Webster called it a homebred right, a fireside privilege. Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come in their presence. Slavery cannot tolerate free speech. Five years of its exercise would banish the auction block and break every chain in the South. They will have none of it there, for they have the power. But shall it be so here?

Even here in Boston, and among the friends of freedom, we hear two voices: one denouncing the mob that broke up our meeting on Monday as a base and cowardly outrage and another, deprecating and regretting the holding of such a meeting, by such men, at such a time. We are told that the meeting was ill-timed, and the parties to it unwise.

Why, what is the matter with us? Are we going to palliate and excuse a palpable and flagrant outrage on the right of speech, by implying that only a particular description of persons should exercise that right? Are we, at such a time, when a great principle has been struck down, to quench the moral indignation which the deed excites, by casting reflections upon those on whose persons the outrage has been committed? After all the arguments for liberty to which Boston has listened for more than a quarter of a century, has she yet to learn that the time to assert a right is the time when the right itself is called in question, and that the men of all others to assert it are the men to whom the right has been denied?

It would be no vindication of the right of speech to prove that certain gentlemen of great distinction, eminent for their learning and ability, are allowed to freely express their opinions on all subjects – including the subject of slavery. Such a vindication would need, itself, to be vindicated. It would add insult to injury. Not even an old-fashioned abolition meeting could vindicate that right in Boston just now. There can be no right of speech where any man, however lifted up, or however humble, however young, or however old, is overawed by force, and compelled to suppress his honest sentiments.

Equally clear is the right to hear. To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. It is just as criminal to rob a man of his right to speak and hear as it would be to rob him of his money. I have no doubt that Boston will vindicate this right. But in order to do so, there must be no concessions to the enemy. When a man is allowed to speak because he is rich and powerful, it aggravates the crime of denying the right to the poor and humble.

The principle must rest upon its own proper basis. And until the right is accorded to the humblest as freely as to the most exalted citizen, the government of Boston is but an empty name, and its freedom a mockery. A man’s right to speak does not depend upon where he was born or upon his color. The simple quality of manhood is the solid basis of the right – and there let it rest forever.

History of Black Birth-Work In The U.S.A

This part of the blog will document the brief history of black midwives and doulas in the United States looking its role in public life over the years, as well as the things that have affected it, such as legislation, public perception and challenges.

In the early-20th century, before male doctors and obstetricians moved the process of birth from homes to hospitals, Granny Midwives, provided most of the care for poor, rural women, both black and white, primarily in the southern states, such as Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina. Their practice was primarily born out of the segregation of slavery and white racism, and they helped deliver the children of enslaved black women and nursed them back to health. Lay midwife, Margaret Charles Smith from Eutaw, Alabama, frequently traveled two hundred miles to Tuskegee’s Andrew Memorial Hospital if one of her patients ever required emergency treatment it was the closest hospital that would admit black patients¹. Other prominent Black midwifes and birth-workers were Biddy Mason, Mary Francis Hill Coley, and Onnie Lee Logan.

Granny Midwives were often seen as healers: holders of African tradition that was passed on to the community, through rituals, homeopathic remedies and the like. In several communities Granny Midwives were the connectors to spiritual and cultural legacies, literally helping birth new babies and forms of life in the Diaspora. Under these midwives, younger black women learned and practiced the craft, often by assisting midwives during their work until the younger apprentice was ready to help a mother for the first time. At the height of their practice, Granny Midwives were considered to be a sub-speciality in the general field of birth-work as a result of the unique position they occupied as healers and birth-workers. Between 1900 and 1940, health officials and doctors started to pursue legislation that sought to ostracize these midwives, by gradually chipping away at their legitimacy and authority. These detractors cast their work as unprofessional and non-scientific, and as Alicia D. Bonaparte writes, “[their] persecution-and prosecution-were due to the medicalization of birth by the formalized healthcare and legal systems the professionalization of American medicine and the restructuring of American healthcare which created surges of inter-occupational conflict within the field of birthing work between obstetricians, general physicians, and granny midwives”².

It is significant to not the arguments used against the work of Granny Midwives were often based within racist and sexist notions, focusing on “their lack of formal education, and their alleged archaic or superstitious practices as evidence of medicinal ineptitude”. Setting up the practices of non-medicalized training as illegitimate was a major part of the delegitimization of Granny Midwife work. In 1950, the Shepard Towner Act drastically reduced the numbers of Granny Midwives practicing midwifery, as it put in place more regulations that controlled the work of midwives, and specifically sought to remove traditional remedies and healing practices. The nurses who worked under this act were specifically suspicious of Black and Latino midwives, repeating the ideas that they were “illiterate, ignorant, dangerous and a serious menace to an infant’s life”. The act even denied Black midwives in Southern States from running child health clinics and midwife classes³.

It is important to note that in addition to lay-midwifery, there were professionally trained nurse-midwives who attended the Tuskegee School of Nurse-Midwifery, which was open from 1941 – 1946 these were some of the ways in which Black midwifery was readapted to engage with the medicalization that was happening at the time⁴. By the 1960s, most of lay-midwives had faded from the field, as health-care became dominated by primarily male professionals such as obstetricians and gynecologists.

While doula work and midwifery are different, the logics that are used to hinder their work are similar. The Granny Midwives in particular maintain a legacy that has been useful for several women of color, particularly, Black women, in birth-work. As the fight for recognition of midwifery happened began to take place in several states in the 80s, legitimation of midwifery began to grow and expand – and Black Midwife organizations such as Soul Sista Midwives, which ran from the 1960s to the 80s, Childbirth Providers of African Descent, and the Traditional Childbearing Group worked tirelessly to train and protect the work of Black birth-workers. Today organizations such as the International Center for Traditional Childbearing, Radical Doula, United in Loss, and Sun-Kissed Doula work to advocate for, and protect the livelihoods of doulas of color, from not only the legislature and laws but also from primarily white doula communities.

Doula work and organizing takes place all across the United States and internationally, with conferences such as the Mother Wit Conference and the Black Healers and Midwife Conference, which is organized by International Center for Traditional Childbirth. ICTC also organizes trips to other countries like Columbia to work with doulas and midwives, bringing together a cross-cultural framework for birth-work. Groups like Radical Doula, Black Women Birthing Justice, the National Association of Birthers of Color, Birth In The Tradition, etcetera, organize and work collectively to raise awareness about black birth work and to protect black life.

¹Margaret Charles Smith, Listen to Me Good: The Life Story of an Alabama Midwife, Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1996, 86

³Ladd-Taylor, Molly, ‘Grannies’ and ‘Spinsters’: Midwife Education Under the Sheppard-Towner Act, Journal of Social History Volume 22, No.2 Oxford University Press, 1988, 260


Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Talbot County, Maryland. The plantation was between Hillsboro and Cordova [12] his birthplace was likely his grandmother's cabin [b] east of Tappers Corner, ( 38°53′04″N 75°57′29″W  /  38.8845°N 75.958°W  / 38.8845 -75.958 ) and west of Tuckahoe Creek. [13] [14] [15] In his first autobiography, Douglass stated: "I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it." [16] However, based on the extant records of Douglass's former owner, Aaron Anthony, historian Dickson J. Preston determined that Douglass was born in February 1818. [3] Though the exact date of his birth is unknown, he later chose to celebrate February 14 as his birthday, remembering that his mother called him her "Little Valentine." [17] [18]

Birth family

Douglass was of mixed race, which likely included Native American [19] and African on his mother's side, as well as European. [20] In contrast, his father was "almost certainly white", according to historian David W. Blight in his 2018 biography of Douglass. [21] Douglass said his mother Harriet Bailey gave him his name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey and, after escaping to the North years later, he took the surname Douglass, having already dropped his two middle names. [22]

He later wrote of his earliest times with his mother: [23]

The opinion was…whispered that my master was my father but of the correctness of this opinion I know nothing. … My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant. … It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age. … I do not recollect of ever seeing my mother by the light of day. She was with me in the night. She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.

After separation from his mother during infancy, young Frederick lived with his maternal grandmother Betsy Bailey, who was also a slave, and his maternal grandfather Isaac, who was free. [24] Betsy would live until 1849. [25] Frederick's mother remained on the plantation about 12 miles (19 km) away, only visiting Frederick a few times before her death when he was 7 years old.

Early learning and experience

The Auld family

At the age of 6, Frederick was separated from his grandparents and moved to the Wye House plantation, where Aaron Anthony worked as overseer. [15] After Anthony died in 1826, Douglass was given to Lucretia Auld, wife of Thomas Auld, who sent him to serve Thomas' brother Hugh Auld in Baltimore. Douglass felt that he was lucky to be in the city, where he said slaves were almost freemen, compared to those on plantations.

When Douglass was about 12, Hugh Auld's wife Sophia began teaching him the alphabet. From the day he arrived, she saw to it that Douglass was properly fed and clothed, and that he slept in a bed with sheets and a blanket. [26] Douglass described her as a kind and tender-hearted woman, who treated him "as she supposed one human being ought to treat another." [27] Hugh Auld disapproved of the tutoring, feeling that literacy would encourage slaves to desire freedom Douglass later referred to this as the "first decidedly antislavery lecture" he had ever heard. [28] Under her husband's influence, Sophia came to believe that education and slavery were incompatible and one day snatched a newspaper away from Douglass. [29] She stopped teaching him altogether and hid all potential reading materials, including her Bible, from him. [26] In his autobiography, Douglass related how he learned to read from white children in the neighborhood, and by observing the writings of the men he worked with. [30]

Douglass continued, secretly, to teach himself how to read and write. He later often said, "knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom." [31] As Douglass began to read newspapers, pamphlets, political materials, and books of every description, this new realm of thought led him to question and condemn the institution of slavery. In later years, Douglass credited The Columbian Orator, an anthology that he discovered at about age 12, with clarifying and defining his views on freedom and human rights. First published in 1797, the book is a classroom reader, containing essays, speeches, and dialogues, to assist students in learning reading and grammar. He later learned that his mother had also been literate, about which he would later declare:

I am quite willing, and even happy, to attribute any love of letters I possess, and for which I have got—despite of prejudices—only too much credit, not to my admitted Anglo-Saxon paternity, but to the native genius of my sable, unprotected, and uncultivated mother—a woman, who belonged to a race whose mental endowments it is, at present, fashionable to hold in disparagement and contempt. [32]

William Freeland

When Douglass was hired out to William Freeland, he taught other slaves on the plantation to read the New Testament at a weekly Sunday school. As word spread, the interest among slaves in learning to read was so great that in any week, more than 40 slaves would attend lessons. For about six months, their study went relatively unnoticed. While Freeland remained complacent about their activities, other plantation owners became incensed about their slaves being educated. One Sunday they burst in on the gathering, armed with clubs and stones, to disperse the congregation permanently.

Edward Covey

In 1833, Thomas Auld took Douglass back from Hugh ("[a]s a means of punishing Hugh," Douglass later wrote). Thomas sent Douglass to work for Edward Covey, a poor farmer who had a reputation as a "slave-breaker". He whipped Douglass so frequently that his wounds had little time to heal. Douglass later said the frequent whippings broke his body, soul, and spirit. [33] The 16-year-old Douglass finally rebelled against the beatings, however, and fought back. After Douglass won a physical confrontation, Covey never tried to beat him again. [34] Recounting his beatings at Covey's farm in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Douglass described himself as "a man transformed into a brute!" [35] Still, Douglass came to see his physical fight with Covey as life-transforming, and introduced the story in his autobiography as such: "You have seen how a man was made a slave you shall see how a slave was made a man." [36]

Douglass first tried to escape from Freeland, who had hired him from his owner, but was unsuccessful. In 1837, Douglass met and fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black woman in Baltimore about five years his senior. Her free status strengthened his belief in the possibility of gaining his own freedom. Murray encouraged him and supported his efforts by aid and money. [37]

On September 3, 1838, Douglass successfully escaped by boarding a northbound train of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. [38] The area where he boarded was a short distance east of the train depot, in a recently developed neighborhood between the modern neighborhoods of Harbor East and Little Italy. The depot was located at President and Fleet streets, east of "The Basin" of the Baltimore harbor, on the northwest branch of the Patapsco River.

Young Douglass reached Havre de Grace, Maryland, in Harford County, in the northeast corner of the state, along the southwest shore of the Susquehanna River, which flowed into the Chesapeake Bay. Although this placed him only some 20 miles (32 km) from the Maryland–Pennsylvania state line, it was easier to continue by rail through Delaware, another slave state. Dressed in a sailor's uniform provided to him by Murray, who also gave him part of her savings to cover his travel costs, he carried identification papers and protection papers that he had obtained from a free black seaman. [37] [39] [40] Douglass crossed the wide Susquehanna River by the railroad's steam-ferry at Havre de Grace to Perryville on the opposite shore, in Cecil County, then continued by train across the state line to Wilmington, Delaware, a large port at the head of the Delaware Bay. From there, because the rail line was not yet completed, he went by steamboat along the Delaware River further northeast to the "Quaker City" of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an anti-slavery stronghold. He continued to the safe house of noted abolitionist David Ruggles in New York City. His entire journey to freedom took less than 24 hours. [41] Douglass later wrote of his arrival in New York City:

I have often been asked, how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. And my readers may share the same curiosity. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the "quick round of blood," I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe. In a letter written to a friend soon after reaching New York, I said: "I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions." Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil. [42]

Once Douglass had arrived, he sent for Murray to follow him north to New York. She brought the necessary basics for them to set up a home. They were married on September 15, 1838, by a black Presbyterian minister, just eleven days after Douglass had reached New York. [41] At first they adopted Johnson as their married name, to divert attention. [37]

The couple settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, (an abolitionist center, full of former slaves), in 1838, moving to Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1841. [43] After meeting and staying with Nathan and Mary Johnson, they adopted Douglass as their married name: [37] Douglass had grown up using his mother's surname of Bailey after escaping slavery he had changed his surname first to Stanley and then to Johnson. In New Bedford, the latter was such a common name that he wanted one that was more distinctive, and asked Nathan Johnson to choose a suitable surname. Nathan suggested "Douglass", [44] after having read the poem The Lady of the Lake by Walter Scott, in which two of the principal characters have the surname "Douglas". [45]

Douglass thought of joining a white Methodist Church, but was disappointed, from the beginning, upon finding that it was segregated. Later, he joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, an independent black denomination first established in New York City, which counted among its members Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. [46] He became a licensed preacher in 1839, [47] which helped him to hone his oratorical skills. He held various positions, including steward, Sunday-school superintendent, and sexton. In 1840, Douglass delivered a speech in Elmira, New York, then a station on the Underground Railroad, in which a black congregation would form years later, becoming the region's largest church by 1940. [48]

Douglass also joined several organizations in New Bedford, and regularly attended abolitionist meetings. He subscribed to William Lloyd Garrison's weekly newspaper, The Liberator. He later said that "no face and form ever impressed me with such sentiments [of the hatred of slavery] as did those of William Lloyd Garrison." So deep was this influence that in his last biography, Douglass said "his paper took a place in my heart second only to The Bible." [49] Garrison was likewise impressed with Douglass, and had written about his anti-colonialist stance in The Liberator as early as 1839. Douglass first heard Garrison speak in 1841, at a lecture that Garrison gave in Liberty Hall, New Bedford. At another meeting, Douglass was unexpectedly invited to speak. After telling his story, Douglass was encouraged to become an anti-slavery lecturer. A few days later, Douglass spoke at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society's annual convention, in Nantucket. Then 23 years old, Douglass conquered his nervousness and gave an eloquent speech about his rough life as a slave.

While living in Lynn, Douglass engaged in early protest against segregated transportation. In September 1841, at Lynn Central Square station, Douglass and friend James N. Buffum were thrown off an Eastern Railroad train because Douglass refused to sit in the segregated railroad coach. [43] [50] [51] [52]

In 1843, Douglass joined other speakers in the American Anti-Slavery Society's "Hundred Conventions" project, a six-month tour at meeting halls throughout the eastern and midwestern United States. During this tour, slavery supporters frequently accosted Douglass. At a lecture in Pendleton, Indiana, an angry mob chased and beat Douglass before a local Quaker family, the Hardys, rescued him. His hand was broken in the attack it healed improperly and bothered him for the rest of his life. [53] A stone marker in Falls Park in the Pendleton Historic District commemorates this event.

In 1847, Frederick Douglass explained to Garrison, "I have no love for America, as such I have no patriotism. I have no country. What country have I? The Institutions of this Country do not know me—do not recognize me as a man." [54]


Douglass' best-known work is his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written during his time in Lynn, Massachusetts [55] and published in 1845. At the time, some skeptics questioned whether a black man could have produced such an eloquent piece of literature. The book received generally positive reviews and became an immediate bestseller. Within three years, it had been reprinted nine times, with 11,000 copies circulating in the United States. It was also translated into French and Dutch and published in Europe.

Douglass published three versions of his autobiography during his lifetime (and revised the third of these), each time expanding on the previous one. The 1845 Narrative was his biggest seller, and probably allowed him to raise the funds to gain his legal freedom the following year, as discussed below. In 1855, Douglass published My Bondage and My Freedom. In 1881, after the Civil War, Douglass published Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, which he revised in 1892.

Travels to Ireland and Great Britain

Douglass' friends and mentors feared that the publicity would draw the attention of his ex-owner, Hugh Auld, who might try to get his "property" back. They encouraged Douglass to tour Ireland, as many former slaves had done. Douglass set sail on the Cambria for Liverpool, England, on August 16, 1845. He traveled in Ireland as the Great Famine was beginning.

The feeling of freedom from American racial discrimination amazed Douglass: [56]

Eleven days and a half gone and I have crossed three thousand miles of the perilous deep. Instead of a democratic government, I am under a monarchical government. Instead of the bright, blue sky of America, I am covered with the soft, grey fog of the Emerald Isle [Ireland]. I breathe, and lo! the chattel [slave] becomes a man. I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult. I employ a cab—I am seated beside white people—I reach the hotel—I enter the same door—I am shown into the same parlour—I dine at the same table—and no one is offended . I find myself regarded and treated at every turn with the kindness and deference paid to white people. When I go to church, I am met by no upturned nose and scornful lip to tell me, ' We don't allow niggers in here! '

He also met and befriended the Irish nationalist Daniel O'Connell, [57] who was to be a great inspiration. [58]

Douglass spent two years in Ireland and Great Britain, lecturing in churches and chapels. His draw was such that some facilities were "crowded to suffocation". One example was his hugely popular London Reception Speech, which Douglass delivered in May 1846 at Alexander Fletcher's Finsbury Chapel. Douglass remarked that in England he was treated not "as a color, but as a man." [59]

In 1846, Douglass met with Thomas Clarkson, one of the last living British abolitionists, who had persuaded Parliament to abolish slavery in Great Britain's colonies. [60] During this trip Douglass became legally free, as British supporters led by Anna Richardson and her sister-in-law Ellen of Newcastle upon Tyne raised funds to buy his freedom from his American owner Thomas Auld. [59] [61] Many supporters tried to encourage Douglass to remain in England but, with his wife still in Massachusetts and three million of his black brethren in bondage in the United States, he returned to America in the spring of 1847, [59] soon after the death of Daniel O'Connell. [62]

In the 21st century, historical plaques were installed on buildings in Cork and Waterford, Ireland, and London to celebrate Douglass' visit: the first is on the Imperial Hotel in Cork and was unveiled on August 31, 2012 the second is on the façade of Waterford City Hall, unveiled on October 7, 2013. It commemorates his speech there on October 9, 1845. [63] The third plaque adorns Nell Gwynn House, South Kensington in London, at the site of an earlier house where Douglass stayed with the British abolitionist George Thompson. [64] A plaque on Gilmore Place in Edinburgh marks his stay there in 1846.

Return to the United States

After returning to the U.S. in 1847, using £500 (equivalent to $46,030 in 2019) given him by English supporters, [59] Douglass started publishing his first abolitionist newspaper, the North Star, from the basement of the Memorial AME Zion Church in Rochester, New York. [65] Originally, Pittsburgh journalist Martin Delany was co-editor but Douglass didn't feel he brought in enough subscriptions, and they parted ways. [66] The North Star's motto was "Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren." The AME Church and North Star vigorously opposed the mostly white American Colonization Society and its proposal to send blacks back to Africa. Douglass also soon split with Garrison, perhaps because the North Star competed with Garrison's National Anti-Slavery Standard and Marius Robinson's Anti-Slavery Bugle. Besides publishing the North Star and delivering speeches, Douglass also participated in the Underground Railroad. He and his wife provided lodging and resources in their home to more than four hundred escaped slaves. [67]

Douglass also came to disagree with Garrison. Earlier Douglass had agreed with Garrison's position that the Constitution was pro-slavery, because of the three-fifths clause its compromises related to apportionment of Congressional seats, based on partial counting of slave populations with state totals and protection of the international slave trade through 1807. Garrison had burned copies of the Constitution to express his opinion. However, Lysander Spooner published The Unconstitutionality of Slavery (1846), which examined the United States Constitution as an anti-slavery document. Douglass' change of opinion about the Constitution and his splitting from Garrison around 1847 became one of the abolitionist movement's most notable divisions. Douglass angered Garrison by saying that the Constitution could and should be used as an instrument in the fight against slavery. [68]

In September 1848, on the tenth anniversary of his escape, Douglass published an open letter addressed to his former master, Thomas Auld, berating him for his conduct, and inquiring after members of his family still held by Auld. [69] [70] In the course of the letter, Douglass adeptly transitions from formal and restrained to familiar and then to impassioned. At one point he is the proud parent, describing his improved circumstances and the progress of his own four young children. But then he dramatically shifts tone:

Oh! sir, a slaveholder never appears to me so completely an agent of hell, as when I think of and look upon my dear children. It is then that my feelings rise above my control. …The grim horrors of slavery rise in all their ghastly terror before me, the wails of millions pierce my heart, and chill my blood. I remember the chain, the gag, the bloody whip, the deathlike gloom overshadowing the broken spirit of the fettered bondman, the appalling liability of his being torn away from wife and children, and sold like a beast in the market. [71]

In a graphic passage, Douglass asked Auld how he would feel if Douglass had come to take away his daughter Amanda as a slave, treating her the way he and members of his family had been treated by Auld. [69] [70] Yet in his conclusion Douglass shows his focus and benevolence, stating that he has "no malice towards him personally," and asserts that, "there is no roof under which you would be more safe than mine, and there is nothing in my house which you might need for comfort, which I would not readily grant. Indeed, I should esteem it a privilege, to set you an example as to how mankind ought to treat each other." [71]

Women's rights

In 1848, Douglass was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, in upstate New York. [72] [73] Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage. [74] Many of those present opposed the idea, including influential Quakers James and Lucretia Mott. [75] Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favor of women's suffrage he said that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could not also claim that right. He suggested that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere.

In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world. [75]

After Douglass' powerful words, the attendees passed the resolution. [75] [76]

In the wake of the Seneca Falls Convention, Douglass used an editorial in The North Star to press the case for women's rights. He recalled the "marked ability and dignity" of the proceedings, and briefly conveyed several arguments of the convention and feminist thought at the time.

On the first count, Douglass acknowledged the "decorum" of the participants in the face of disagreement. In the remainder, he discussed the primary document that emerged from the conference, a Declaration of Sentiments, and the "infant" feminist cause. Strikingly, he expressed the belief that "[a] discussion of the rights of animals would be regarded with far more complacency. than would be a discussion of the rights of women," and Douglass noted the link between abolitionism and feminism, the overlap between the communities.

His opinion as the editor of a prominent newspaper carried weight, and he stated the position of the North Star explicitly: "We hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for man." This letter, written a week after the convention, reaffirmed the first part of the paper's slogan, "right is of no sex."

After the Civil War, when the 15th Amendment giving Blacks the right to vote was being debated, Douglass split with the Stanton-led faction of the women's rights movement. Douglass supported the amendment, which would grant suffrage to black men. Stanton opposed the 15th Amendment because it limited the expansion of suffrage to black men she predicted its passage would delay for decades the cause for women's right to vote. Stanton argued that American women and black men should band together to fight for universal suffrage, and opposed any bill that split the issues. [77] Douglass and Stanton both knew that there was not yet enough male support for women's right to vote, but that an amendment giving black men the vote could pass in the late 1860s. Stanton wanted to attach women's suffrage to that of black men so that her cause would be carried to success. [78]

Douglass thought such a strategy was too risky, that there was barely enough support for black men's suffrage. He feared that linking the cause of women's suffrage to that of black men would result in failure for both. Douglass argued that white women, already empowered by their social connections to fathers, husbands, and brothers, at least vicariously had the vote. African-American women, he believed, would have the same degree of empowerment as white women once African-American men had the vote. [78] Douglass assured the American women that at no time had he ever argued against women's right to vote. [79]

Ideological refinement

Meanwhile, in 1851, Douglass merged the North Star with Gerrit Smith's Liberty Party Paper to form Frederick Douglass' Paper, which was published until 1860.

On July 5, 1852, Douglass delivered an address to the ladies of the Rochester Anti-Slavery Sewing Society. This speech eventually became known as "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" one biographer called it "perhaps the greatest antislavery oration ever given." [80] In 1853, he was a prominent attendee of the radical abolitionist National African American Convention in Rochester. Douglass' was one of five names attached to the address of the convention to the people of the United States published under the title, The Claims of Our Common Cause, along with Amos Noë Freeman, James Monroe Whitfield, Henry O. Wagoner, and George Boyer Vashon. [81]

Like many abolitionists, Douglass believed that education would be crucial for African Americans to improve their lives he was an early advocate for school desegregation. In the 1850s, Douglass observed that New York's facilities and instruction for African-American children were vastly inferior to those for whites. Douglass called for court action to open all schools to all children. He said that full inclusion within the educational system was a more pressing need for African Americans than political issues such as suffrage.

John Brown

On March 12, 1859, Douglass met with radical abolitionists John Brown, George DeBaptiste, and others at William Webb's house in Detroit to discuss emancipation. [82] Douglass met Brown again when Brown visited his home two months before leading the raid on Harpers Ferry. Brown penned his Provisional Constitution during his two-week stay with Douglass. Also staying with Douglass for over a year was Shields Green, a fugitive slave that Douglass was helping, as he often did.

The secret meeting in the Chambersburg stone quarry

Shortly before the raid, Douglass, taking Green with him, travelled from Rochester, via New York City, to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, John Brown's communications headquarters. He was recognized there by Blacks, who asked him for a lecture. Douglass agreed, although he said his only topic was slavery. John Brown, incognito, sat in the audience Shields Green joined him on the stage. A white reporter, referring to "Nigger Democracy", called it a "flaming address" by "the notorious Negro Orator". [83]

There, in an abandoned stone quarry for secrecy, Douglass and Green met with Brown and John Henri Kagi, to discuss the raid. After discussions lasting, as Douglass put it, "a day and a night", he disappointed Brown by declining to join him, considering the mission suicidal. To Douglass's surprise, Green went with Brown instead of returning to Rochester with Douglass. Anne Brown said that Green told her that Douglass promised to pay him on his return, but David Blight called this "much more ex post facto bitterness than reality. [84] : 172–174

Almost all that is known about this incident comes from Douglass. It is clear that it was of immense importance to him, both as a turning point in his life—not accompanying John Brown—and its importance in his public image. The meeting was not revealed by Douglass for 20 years. He first disclosed it in his speech on John Brown at Storer College in 1881, trying unsuccessfully to raise money to support a John Brown professorship at Storer, to be held by a Black man. He again referred to it stunningly in his last Autobiography.

After the raid, which took place between October 16 and 18, 1859, Douglass was accused both of supporting Brown and of not supporting him enough. [85] He was nearly arrested on a Virginia warrant, [86] [87] [88] and fled for a brief time to Canada before proceeding onward to England on a previously-planned lecture tour, arriving near the end of November. [89] During his lecture tour of Great Britain, on March 26, 1860, Douglass delivered a speech before the Scottish Anti-Slavery Society in Glasgow, "The Constitution of the United States: Is It Pro-Slavery or Antislavery?", outlining his views on the American Constitution. [90] That month, on the 13th, Douglass' youngest daughter Annie died in Rochester, New York, just days shy of her 11th birthday. Douglass sailed back from England the following month, traveling through Canada to avoid detection.

Douglass's Storer College address (1881)

Years later, in 1881, Douglass shared a stage at Storer College in Harpers Ferry with Andrew Hunter, the prosecutor who secured Brown's conviction and execution. Hunter congratulated Douglass. [91]


Douglass considered photography very important in ending slavery and racism, and believed that the camera would not lie, even in the hands of a racist white, as photographs were an excellent counter to the many racist caricatures, particularly in blackface minstrelsy. He was the most photographed American of the 19th century, consciously using photography to advance his political views. [92] [93] He never smiled, specifically so as not to play into the racist caricature of a happy slave. He tended to look directly into the camera to confront the viewer, with a stern look. [94] [95]

As a child, Douglass was exposed to a number of religious sermons, and in his youth, he sometimes heard Sophia Auld reading the Bible. In time, he became interested in literacy he began reading and copying bible verses, and he eventually converted to Christianity. [96] [97] He described this approach in his last biography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass:

I was not more than thirteen years old, when in my loneliness and destitution I longed for some one to whom I could go, as to a father and protector. The preaching of a white Methodist minister, named Hanson, was the means of causing me to feel that in God I had such a friend. He thought that all men, great and small, bond and free, were sinners in the sight of God: that they were by nature rebels against His government and that they must repent of their sins, and be reconciled to God through Christ. I cannot say that I had a very distinct notion of what was required of me, but one thing I did know well: I was wretched and had no means of making myself otherwise.
I consulted a good old colored man named Charles Lawson, and in tones of holy affection he told me to pray, and to "cast all my care upon God." This I sought to do and though for weeks I was a poor, broken-hearted mourner, traveling through doubts and fears, I finally found my burden lightened, and my heart relieved. I loved all mankind, slaveholders not excepted, though I abhorred slavery more than ever. I saw the world in a new light, and my great concern was to have everybody converted. My desire to learn increased, and especially, did I want a thorough acquaintance with the contents of the Bible. [98]

Douglass was mentored by Rev. Charles Lawson, and, early in his activism, he often included biblical allusions and religious metaphors in his speeches. Although a believer, he strongly criticized religious hypocrisy [99] and accused slaveholders of wickedness, lack of morality, and failure to follow the Golden Rule. In this sense, Douglass distinguished between the "Christianity of Christ" and the "Christianity of America" and considered religious slaveholders and clergymen who defended slavery as the most brutal, sinful, and cynical of all who represented "wolves in sheep's clothing". [100] [101]

Notably, in a famous oration given in the Corinthian Hall of Rochester, [102] he sharply criticized the attitude of religious people who kept silent about slavery, and held that religious ministers committed a blasphemy when they taught it as sanctioned by religion. He considered that a law passed to support slavery was "one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty" and said that pro-slavery clergymen within the American Church "stripped the love of God of its beauty, and leave the throne of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form", and "an abomination in the sight of God". Of ministers like John Chase Lord, Leonard Elijah Lathrop, Ichabod Spencer, and Orville Dewey, he said that they taught, against the Scriptures, that "we ought to obey man's law before the law of God". He further asserted, "in speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States . Henry Ward Beecher of Brooklyn, Samuel J. May of Syracuse, and my esteemed friend [Robert R. Raymonde]". He maintained that "upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave's redemption from his chains". In addition, he called religious people to embrace abolitionism, stating, "let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery and slave-holding and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds." [99]

During his visits to the United Kingdom between 1846 and 1848, Douglass asked British Christians never to support American churches that permitted slavery, [103] and he expressed his happiness to know that a group of ministers in Belfast had refused to admit slaveholders as members of the Church.

On his return to the United States, Douglass founded the North Star, a weekly publication with the motto "Right is of no sex, Truth is of no color, God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren." Douglass later wrote a letter to his former slaveholder, in which he denounced him for leaving Douglass's family illiterate:

Your wickedness and cruelty committed in this respect on your fellow creatures, are greater than all the stripes you have laid upon my back or theirs. It is an outrage upon the soul, a war upon the immortal spirit, and one for which you must give account at the bar of our common Father and Creator.

Sometimes considered a precursor of a non-denominational liberation theology, [104] [105] Douglass was a deeply spiritual man, as his home continues to show. The fireplace mantle features busts of two of his favorite philosophers, David Friedrich Strauss, author of "The Life of Jesus", and Ludwig Feuerbach, author of "The Essence of Christianity" [ dubious – discuss ] . In addition to several Bibles and books about various religions in the library, images of angels and Jesus are displayed, as well as interior and exterior photographs of Washington's Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. [48] Throughout his life, Douglass had linked that individual experience with social reform, and like other Christian abolitionists, he followed practices such as abstaining from tobacco, alcohol and other substances that he believed corrupted body and soul. [106]

Before the Civil War

By the time of the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country, known for his orations on the condition of the black race and on other issues such as women's rights. His eloquence gathered crowds at every location. His reception by leaders in England and Ireland added to his stature.

Fight for emancipation and suffrage

Douglass and the abolitionists argued that because the aim of the Civil War was to end slavery, African Americans should be allowed to engage in the fight for their freedom. Douglass publicized this view in his newspapers and several speeches. In August 1861 he published an account of the First Battle of Bull Run, noting that some blacks were already in the Confederate ranks. A few weeks later, Douglass brought the subject up again, quoting a witness to the battle who said they saw black Confederates "with muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets." [107] Douglass conferred with President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 on the treatment of black soldiers, [108] and with President Andrew Johnson on the subject of black suffrage. [109]

President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863, declared the freedom of all slaves in Confederate-held territory. (Slaves in Union-held areas were not covered by this war-measures act slaves in Union-held areas and Northern states were freed with the adoption of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865.) Douglass described the spirit of those awaiting the proclamation: "We were waiting and listening as for a bolt from the sky . we were watching . by the dim light of the stars for the dawn of a new day . we were longing for the answer to the agonizing prayers of centuries." [110]

During the U.S. Presidential Election of 1864, Douglass supported John C. Frémont, who was the candidate of the abolitionist Radical Democracy Party. Douglass was disappointed that President Lincoln did not publicly endorse suffrage for black freedmen. Douglass believed that since African-American men were fighting for the Union in the American Civil War, they deserved the right to vote. [111]

With the North no longer obliged to return slaves to their owners in the South, Douglass fought for equality for his people. He made plans with Lincoln to move liberated slaves out of the South. During the war, Douglass also helped the Union cause by serving as a recruiter for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. His eldest son, Charles Douglass, joined the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, but was ill for much of his service. [47] Lewis Douglass fought at the Battle of Fort Wagner. [112] Another son, Frederick Douglass Jr., also served as a recruiter.

After Lincoln's death

The post-war (1865) ratification of the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery. The 14th Amendment provided for citizenship and equal protection under the law. The 15th Amendment protected all citizens from being discriminated against in voting because of race. [77]

On April 14, 1876, Douglass delivered the keynote speech at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park. He spoke frankly about Lincoln, noting what he perceived as both positive and negative attributes of the late President. Calling Lincoln "the white man's president", Douglass criticized Lincoln's tardiness in joining the cause of emancipation, noting that Lincoln initially opposed the expansion of slavery but did not support its elimination. But Douglass also asked, "Can any colored man, or any white man friendly to the freedom of all men, ever forget the night which followed the first day of January 1863, when the world was to see if Abraham Lincoln would prove to be as good as his word?" [113] He also said: "Though Mr. Lincoln shared the prejudices of his white fellow-countrymen against the Negro, it is hardly necessary to say that in his heart of hearts he loathed and hated slavery . "

The crowd, roused by his speech, gave Douglass a standing ovation. Lincoln's widow Mary Lincoln supposedly gave Lincoln's favorite walking-stick to Douglass in appreciation. That walking-stick still rests in his final residence, "Cedar Hill", now preserved as the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.

After delivering the speech, Frederick Douglass immediately wrote to the National Republican newspaper in Washington (which published five days later, April 19), criticizing the statue's design and suggesting the park could be improved by more dignified monuments of free Black people. "The negro here, though rising, is still on his knees and nude," Douglass wrote. "What I want to see before I die is a monument representing the negro, not couchant on his knees like a four-footed animal, but erect on his feet like a man." [114]

After the Civil War, Douglass continued to work for equality for African-Americans and women. Due to his prominence and activism during the war, Douglass received several political appointments. He served as president of the Reconstruction-era Freedman's Savings Bank. [115]

Meanwhile, white insurgents had quickly arisen in the South after the war, organizing first as secret vigilante groups, including the Ku Klux Klan. Armed insurgency took different forms. Powerful paramilitary groups included the White League and the Red Shirts, both active during the 1870s in the Deep South. They operated as "the military arm of the Democratic Party", turning out Republican officeholders and disrupting elections. [116] Starting 10 years after the war, Democrats regained political power in every state of the former Confederacy and began to reassert white supremacy. They enforced this by a combination of violence, late 19th-century laws imposing segregation and a concerted effort to disfranchise African Americans. New labor and criminal laws also limited their freedom. [117]

To combat these efforts, Douglass supported the presidential campaign of Ulysses S. Grant in 1868. In 1870, Douglass started his last newspaper, the New National Era, attempting to hold his country to its commitment to equality. [47] President Grant sent a Congressionally sponsored commission, accompanied by Douglass, on a mission to the West Indies to investigate if the annexation of Santo Domingo would be good for the United States. Grant believed annexation would help relieve the violent situation in the South by allowing African Americans their own state. Douglass and the commission favored annexation, however, Congress remained opposed to annexation. Douglass criticized Senator Charles Sumner, who opposed annexation, stating if Sumner continued to oppose annexation he would "regard him as the worst foe the colored race has on this continent." [118]

After the midterm elections, Grant signed the Civil Rights Act of 1871 (also known as the Klan Act), and the second and third Enforcement Acts. Grant used their provisions vigorously, suspending habeas corpus in South Carolina and sending troops there and into other states. Under his leadership over 5,000 arrests were made. Grant's vigor in disrupting the Klan made him unpopular among many whites, but earned praise from Douglass. A Douglass associate wrote that African Americans "will ever cherish a grateful remembrance of [Grant's] name, fame and great services."

In 1872, Douglass became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States, as Victoria Woodhull's running mate on the Equal Rights Party ticket. He was nominated without his knowledge. Douglass neither campaigned for the ticket nor acknowledged that he had been nominated. [9] In that year, he was presidential elector at large for the State of New York, and took that state's votes to Washington, D.C. [119]

However, in early June of that year, Douglass' third Rochester home, on South Avenue, burned down arson was suspected. [120] [121] There was extensive damage to the house, its furnishings, and the grounds in addition, sixteen volumes of the North Star and Frederick Douglass' Paper were lost. [122] Douglass then moved to Washington, D.C.

Throughout the Reconstruction era, Douglass continued speaking, emphasizing the importance of work, voting rights and actual exercise of suffrage. His speeches for the twenty-five years following the war emphasized work to counter the racism that was then prevalent in unions. [123] In a November 15, 1867, speech he said "A man's rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box. Let no man be kept from the ballot box because of his color. Let no woman be kept from the ballot box because of her sex." [124] [125] Douglass spoke at many colleges around the country, including Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, in 1873.

Douglass and Anna Murray had five children: Rosetta Douglass, Lewis Henry Douglass, Frederick Douglass Jr., Charles Remond Douglass, and Annie Douglass (died at the age of ten). Charles and Rosetta helped produce his newspapers.

Anna Douglass remained a loyal supporter of her husband's public work. His relationships with Julia Griffiths and Ottilie Assing, two women with whom he was professionally involved, caused recurring speculation and scandals. [126] Assing was a journalist recently immigrated from Germany, who first visited Douglass in 1856 seeking permission to translate My Bondage and My Freedom into German. Until 1872, she often stayed at his house "for several months at a time" as his "intellectual and emotional companion." Assing held Anna Douglass "in utter contempt" and was vainly hoping that Douglass would separate from his wife. Douglass biographer David W. Blight concludes that Assing and Douglass "were probably lovers." [127] Though Douglass and Assing are widely believed to have had an intimate relationship, the surviving correspondence contains no proof of such a relationship. [128]

After Anna died in 1882, in 1884 Douglass married again, to Helen Pitts, a white suffragist and abolitionist from Honeoye, New York. Pitts was the daughter of Gideon Pitts Jr., an abolitionist colleague and friend of Douglass's. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College (then called Mount Holyoke Female Seminary), Pitts worked on a radical feminist publication named Alpha while living in Washington, D.C. She later worked as Douglass's secretary. [129] Assing, who had depression and was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer, committed suicide in France in 1884 after hearing of the marriage. [130] Upon her death, Assing bequeathed Douglass $13,000, albums, and his choice of books from her library. [131]

The marriage of Douglass and Pitts provoked a storm of controversy, since Pitts was both white and nearly 20 years younger. Her family stopped speaking to her his children considered the marriage a repudiation of their mother. But feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton congratulated the couple. [132] Douglass responded to the criticisms by saying that his first marriage had been to someone the color of his mother, and his second to someone the color of his father. [133]

The Freedman's Savings Bank went bankrupt on June 29, 1874, just a few months after Douglass became its president in late March. [134] During that same economic crisis, his final newspaper, The New National Era, failed in September. [135] When Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was elected president, he named Douglass as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, the first person of color to be so named. The Senate voted to confirm him on March 17, 1877. [136] Douglass accepted the appoint, which helped assure his family's financial security. [47] During his tenure, Douglass was urged by his supporters to resign from his commission, since he was never asked to introduce visiting foreign dignitaries to the President, which is one of the usual duties of that post. However, Douglass believed that no covert racism was implied by the omission, and stated that he was always warmly welcomed in presidential circles. [137] [138]

In 1877, Douglass visited Thomas Auld on his deathbed, and the two men reconciled. Douglass had met Auld's daughter, Amanda Auld Sears, some years prior she had requested the meeting and had subsequently attended and cheered one of Douglass' speeches. Her father complimented her for reaching out to Douglass. The visit also appears to have brought closure to Douglass, although some criticized his effort. [69]

That same year, Douglass bought the house that was to be the family's final home in Washington, D.C., on a hill above the Anacostia River. He and Anna named it Cedar Hill (also spelled CedarHill). They expanded the house from 14 to 21 rooms, and included a china closet. One year later, Douglass purchased adjoining lots and expanded the property to 15 acres (61,000 m 2 ). The home is now preserved as the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.

In 1881, Douglass published the final edition of his autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. That year he was appointed as Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia. His wife Anna Murray Douglass died in 1882, leaving the widower devastated. After a period of mourning, Douglass found new meaning from working with activist Ida B. Wells. He remarried in 1884, as mentioned above.

Douglass also continued his speaking engagements and travel, both in the United States and abroad. With new wife Helen, Douglass traveled to England, Ireland, France, Italy, Egypt and Greece from 1886 to 1887. He became known for advocating Irish Home Rule and supported Charles Stewart Parnell in Ireland.

In addition to his travel abroad during those years, he lectured in small towns in the United States. On December 28, 1885, the aging orator spoke to the literary society in Rising Sun, a town in northeastern Maryland below the Mason–Dixon line. [139] The program, "The Self-Made Man," attracted a large audience including students from Lincoln University in Chester County, PA, the Oxford Press reported. "Mr. Douglass is growing old and has lost much of his fire and vigor of mind as well as body, but he is still able to interest an audience. He is a remarkable man and is a bright example of the capability of the colored race, even under the blighting influence of slavery, from which he emerged and became one of the distinguished citizens of the country," the Chester County PA newspaper remarked. [140]

At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Douglass became the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in a major party's roll call vote. [141] [142] [143] That year, Douglass spoke at Claflin College, a historically black college in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and the state's oldest such institution. [144]

Many African Americans, called Exodusters, escaped the Klan and racially discriminatory laws in the South by moving to Kansas, where some formed all-black towns to have a greater level of freedom and autonomy. Douglass did not favor this, nor the Back-to-Africa movement. He thought the latter resembled the American Colonization Society which he had opposed in his youth. In 1892, at an Indianapolis conference convened by Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, Douglass spoke out against the separatist movements, urging blacks to stick it out. [47] He made similar speeches as early as 1879, and was criticized both by fellow leaders and some audiences, who even booed him for this position. [145] Speaking in Baltimore in 1894, Douglass said, "I hope and trust all will come out right in the end, but the immediate future looks dark and troubled. I cannot shut my eyes to the ugly facts before me." [146]

President Harrison appointed Douglass as the United States's minister resident and consul-general to the Republic of Haiti and Chargé d'affaires for Santo Domingo in 1889. [147] but Douglass resigned the commission in July 1891 when it became apparent that the American President was intent upon gaining permanent access to Haitian territory regardless of that country's desires. [148] In 1892, Haiti made Douglass a co-commissioner of its pavilion at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. [149]

In 1892, Douglass constructed rental housing for blacks, now known as Douglass Place, in the Fells Point area of Baltimore. The complex still exists, and in 2003 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [150] [151]

On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and received a standing ovation. Shortly after he returned home, Douglass died of a massive heart attack. [152] He was 77.

His funeral was held at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. Thousands of people passed by his coffin to show their respect. Although Douglass had attended several churches in the nation's capital, he had a pew here and had donated two standing candelabras when this church had moved to a new building in 1886. He also gave many lectures there, including his last major speech, "The Lesson of the Hour." [48]

Douglass' coffin was transported to Rochester, New York, where he had lived for 25 years, longer than anywhere else in his life. He was buried next to Anna in the Douglass family plot of Mount Hope Cemetery. Helen was also buried there in 1903. [153]


  • 1845. A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (first autobiography).
  • 1853. "The Heroic Slave." Pp. 174–239 in Autographs for Freedom, edited by Julia Griffiths. Boston: Jewett and Company.
  • 1855. My Bondage and My Freedom (second autobiography).
  • 1881 (revised 1892). Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (third and final autobiography).
  • 1847–1851. The North Star, an abolitionist newspaper founded and edited by Douglass. He merged the paper with another, creating the Frederick Douglass' Paper.
  • 2012. In the Words of Frederick Douglass: Quotations from Liberty's Champion, edited by John R. McKivigan and Heather L. Kaufman. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN978-0-8014-4790-7.


  • 1841. "The Church and Prejudice" [154]
  • 1852. "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" [155] In 2020, National Public Radio produced a video of descendants of Douglass reading excerpts from the speech. [156]
  • 1859. Self-Made Men.
  • 1863, July 6. "Speech at National Hall, for the Promotion of Colored Enlistments." [157]
  • 1881.
  • John Brown. An address by Frederick Douglass, at the fourteenth anniversary of Storer College, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881. Dover, New Hampshire. 1881.

The most influential African American of the nineteenth century, Douglass made a career of agitating the American conscience. He spoke and wrote on behalf of a variety of reform causes: women's rights, temperance, peace, land reform, free public education, and the abolition of capital punishment. But he devoted the bulk of his time, immense talent, and boundless energy to ending slavery and gaining equal rights for African Americans. These were the central concerns of his long reform career. Douglass understood that the struggle for emancipation and equality demanded forceful, persistent, and unyielding agitation. And he recognized that African Americans must play a conspicuous role in that struggle. Less than a month before his death, when a young black man solicited his advice to an African American just starting out in the world, Douglass replied without hesitation: ″Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!″

The Episcopal Church remembers Douglass with a Lesser Feast [159] [160] annually on its liturgical calendar for February 20, [161] the anniversary of his death. Many public schools have also been named in his honor. Douglass still has living descendants today, such as Ken Morris, who is also a descendant of Booker T. Washington. [162] Other honors and remembrances include:

Black History Boston: Frederick Douglass speaks at Faneuil Hall

Today, we look back to the day the Frederick Douglass first spoke at Faneuil Hall.


In 1829, Mexico abolished slavery, threatening the power of slaveholders who wanted to expand the territory in which slaves could be legally held. For the next two decades, a battle would be fought over the status of Texas. In a speech in Belfast, Ireland, in 1846, the fiery abolitionist Frederick Douglass described the U.S. annexation of Texas as a "conspiracy from beginning to end— a most deep and skillfully devised conspiracy — for the purpose of upholding and sustaining one of the darkest and foulest crimes ever committed by man." In this speech 1 , delivered in Boston in 1849, Douglass, speaking to other abolitionists, calls for forcible resistance against the invasion of Mexico — and against slave owners in the South.

You know as well as I do, that Faneuil Hall has resounded with echoing applause of a denunciation of the Mexican war, as a murderous war — as a war against the free States — as a war against freedom, against the negro, and against the interests of the workingman of this country — and as a means of extending that great evil and damning curse, negro slavery.( Immense applause. ) Why may not the oppressed say, when an oppressor is dead, either by disease or by the hand of the foeman on the battlefield, that there is one the less of his oppressors left on earth? For my part, I would not care if, tomorrow, I should hear of the death of every man who engaged in that bloody war in Mexico, and that every man had met the fate he went there to perpetrate upon unoffending Mexicans. (Applause and hisses.)

A word more. There are three millions of slaves in this land, held by the U.S. government, under the sanction of the American Constitution, with all the compromises and guaranties contained in that instrument in favor of the slave system. Among those guaranties and compromises is one by which you, the citizens of Boston, have sworn, before God, that three millions of slaves shall be slaves or die — that your swords and bayonets and arms shall, at any time at the bidding of the slaveholder, through the legal magistrate or governor of a slave State, be at his service in putting down the slaves. With eighteen millions of freemen standing upon the quivering hearts of three millions of slaves, my sympathies, of course, must be with the oppressed. I am among them, and you are treading them beneath your feet. The weight of your influence, numbers, political combinations and religious organizations, and the power of your arms, rest heavily upon them, and serve at this moment to keep them in their chains. When I consider their condition — the history of the American people — how they bared their bosoms to the storm of British artillery, in order to resist simply a three-penny tea tax, and to assert their independence of the mother country — I say, in view of these things, I should welcome the intelligence tomorrow, should it come, that the slaves had risen in the South, and that the sable arms which had been engaged in beautifying and adorning the South, were engaged in spreading death and devastation there. ( Marked sensation. ) There is a state of war at the South, at this moment. The slaveholder is waging a war of aggression on the oppressed. The slaves are now under his feet. Why, you welcomed the intelligence from France, that Louis Philippe had been barricaded in Paris — you threw up your caps in honor of the victory achieved by Republicanism over Royalty — you shouted aloud — "Long live the republic!" — and joined heartily in the watchword of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" — and should you not hail, with equal pleasure, the tidings from the South, that the slaves had risen, and achieved for himself, against the iron-hearted slaveholder, what the republicans of France achieved against the royalists of France? ( Great applause, and some hissing. )

1 Frederick Douglass, Address to the New England Convention (May 31, 1849). Speech delivered at the New England Convention in Faneuil Hall Boston. Massachusetts. Printed in "Great Meeting at Faneuil Hall," The Liberator (Boston, Massachusetts), vol. 29, no. 23 (Whole no. 961), p. 90.

No. 88 Squadron RAF

After forming at Gosport in July 1917, the squadron was moved to France in April 1918 where it undertook fighter-reconnaissance duties. It was also involved in the development of air-to-air wireless telegraphy. The squadron became part of No. 80 Wing, which specialised in attacks on German airfields, on 1 July 1918, shortly after the foundation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April.

Despite its short service at the front, the squadron claimed 147 victories for casualties of two killed in action, five wounded in action, and ten missing. Eleven aces served in the unit, including Kenneth Burns Conn, Edgar Johnston, Allan Hepburn, Charles Findlay, and Gerald Anderson. [5] It was disbanded on 10 August 1919. [6]

On 7 June 1937, No. 88 Squadron was reformed at RAF Waddington as a light-bomber squadron equipped with the Hawker Hind biplane, moving to RAF Boscombe Down in July that year. In December that year it re-equipped with the Fairey Battle monoplane bomber. [7] [8]

On the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, the squadron transferred from No. 1 Group to the RAF Advanced Air Striking Force, making it one of the first squadrons to be sent to France. [9] [8] [10] The first recorded RAF "kill" of the Second World War was claimed on 20 September 1939 by air observer Sergeant F Letchford aboard a Fairey Battle flown by Flying Officer LH Baker. [11] [2] It suffered very heavy losses during the Battle of France, [11] for example, when four Battles set out from its base at Mourmelon to attack German troop columns in Luxembourg, only 1 returned. (Four out of four Battles from No. 218 Squadron launched against the same targets that day were also lost.) [12] The squadron was forced to retreat on 15 May, with any unserviceable aircraft being destroyed, together with stocks of spares and stores. For the rest of the squadrons time in France, it was confined mainly to night operations to minimise losses. [13] It returned to Britain in June 1940, moving to RAF Sydenham, Belfast where it operated a mix of Battles, Douglas Boston Is and Bristol Blenheim IVs, carrying out patrol duties over the Western Approaches.

In July 1941, the squadron was moved to RAF Swanton Morley, East Anglia where it converted fully to the Boston III and IIIA. The aircraft was well received by the crews. In January 1942 Wing Commander James Pelly-Fry took over as commanding officer. He was a well experienced pilot who had flown in Africa. [14] Pelly-Fry led a series of circus missions over northern France, bombing targets while under heavy fighter escort, including the bombing of the Saint-Malo docks on 31 July 1942. On 19 August 1942 the squadron supported Canadian forces during the intense air battles of the Dieppe raid, where the RAF lost 91 aircraft. It flew repeated sorties attempting to destroy field gun positions overlooking the beaches at Dieppe. In September the squadron was moved to RAF Oulton in Norfolk, where it became an integral part of No. 2 Group. The crews were billeted at Blickling Hall, a stately home north of Aylsham in Norfolk. From Oulton the squadron carried out attacks on German coastal shipping, coastal targets and targets in northern France. On 6 December 1942, the squadron was the lead element in Operation Oyster, the daylight raid against the Philips works in Eindhoven. The raid was the most famous and successful raid conducted by No. 2 Group.

In August 1943, the squadron relocated to RAF Hartford Bridge, Hampshire with its sister squadron No. 342 Squadron as part of No. 137 Wing of No. 2 Group of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in preparation for the invasion of Europe. From there the squadron attacked German communications and airfields. On D-Day itself it was charged with laying the smokescreen to hide the first wave of landing craft.

In October 1944, the squadron returned to France based at Vitry-en-Artois to join the tactical air forces that were supporting the Allied armies as they advanced across Europe. The squadron was finally disbanded on 4 April 1945. [6]

On 1 September 1946, No. 1430 Flight at RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong, equipped with Short Sunderland flying boats, was redesignated No. 88 Squadron. It was initially employed on transport duties, ferrying passengers, mail and freight from Hong Kong to Iwakuni in Japan in support of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. [9] [15] [16] The squadron later became a General Reconnaissance unit, adding maritime patrol and anti-piracy operations to its transport duties. [9] [15] By April 1949, the Chinese Civil War was approaching its conclusion, with Chinese Communist forces advancing towards Shanghai. When the Royal Navy ship HMS Amethyst, on her way up the Yangtze river to Nanjing to relieve HMS Consort as guard ship, came under fire from People's Liberation Army artillery and ran aground on 20 April in what became known as the Yangtze Incident, one of the squadron's Sunderlands was deployed in support of British efforts to relieve Amethyst, alighting on the Yangtze near Amethyst on 21 April. Although the Sunderland came under fire after alighting, a doctor and medical supplies were transferred to the ship by boat. A second attempt on 22 April was less successful, the Sunderland being forced to take off without making any transfers to or from Amethyst. [17] [18] The squadron's Sunderlands helped to evacuate British subjects from Shanghai on 17 May. [19] [20] The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, saw the squadron fly patrols along the Korean coast, with detachments operating from Iwakuni. In June 1951 the squadron moved to RAF Seletar in Singapore, with its patrol duties off Korea being passed on to other Sunderland squadrons. It was disbanded on 1 October 1954. [9] [15]

On 15 January 1956, No. 88 Squadron reformed at RAF Wildenrath as an interdiction squadron equipped with English Electric Canberra B(I)8s, with a main role of low-level night ground attack. [21] From January 1958, it added nuclear strike, using US-owned Mark 7 nuclear bombs supplied under Project E to its conventional attack duties. [22] In July 1958, the squadron was deployed to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus due to fears that the Lebanon crisis might escalate, [23] and in June 1961, it was briefly deployed to Sharjah in response to Iraqi threats against Kuwait. [24] [25] On 17 December 1962, the squadron was renumbered No. 14 Squadron. [9]

In 2014, No. 88 (Battle) Squadron of the Air Training Corps was created, the squadron being located in Battle, East Sussex, UK. The Squadron Commander selected the number 88 in memory of the Fairey Battle aircraft which the original squadron had used. In 2019 No 88 (Battle) Squadron was voted the most improved Air Cadet Squadron in the UK winning the Marshall Trophy.

The name of Douglas was first given to the territory of the town in the year 1746. New Sherborn or "New Sherborn Grant" had previously been its designation, since its first occupancy by the English settlers which was as early as 1715. The first English settlers came primarily from Sherborn, although many hailed from Natick as well. New Sherburn was removed from Suffolk County (or Middlesex county?) to Worcester County at its formation on April 2, 1731. The name Douglas was given in 1746, when Dr. William Douglass, [1] an eminent physician of Boston, in consideration of the privilege of naming the township offered the inhabitants the sum of $500.00 as a fund for the establishment of free schools together with a tract of 30 acres (12 ha) of land with a dwelling house and barn thereon. It is said that there were subsequent pledges made by Dr. Douglas in the form of a bell for the Center School and 50 sterling pounds for seven years to support the ministry but quite a portion of these pledges were not received by the Town.

Douglas's forests gave rise to a woodcutting industry and the Douglas axe company. [2] A woolen manufacturing company, on the Mumford River in East Douglas, in recent times held by the Schuster family, has been prominent in the history of this community. General Lafayette, of France, stopped here during the Revolutionary War, to change horses, on his way to Boston to join General Washington. Lafayette was a hero of the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

From a very early period reaching beyond 1635, bands of Native Americans, principally the Nipmuc tribe, dominated this region of Worcester County. The Blackstone River was once called the Nipmuc River. Most of Douglas is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. [2]

The underlying geology consists of rocks rich in quartz, feldspar, and mica. Boulders are plentifully scattered all over town, and gold and silver ores are said to be found in some localities. Large quantities of building and ornamental stone are quarried from the granite ledges found in the center of town which is shipped to almost every section of New England. [3]

Police Chief Patrick Foley of Douglas was elected Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), at the annual convention in Denver, Colorado, in 2009. [4]

In December 2017, Lt. Nick L. Miglionico was sworn in as the new Chief Of Police replacing longtime Chief Patrick Foley who retired and took a position as Chief of Police in Williston Vt. Chief Miglionico has been with the Douglas Police Department since January 1997.

A common misconception in Douglas is in regard to the New England Trunkline Trail. Many believe that railroad tracks were laid here for commuting from northern Connecticut to northern Massachusetts. In fact, they were used to haul ice from Wallum Lake as interstate commerce. Today you can hike these trails through Massachusetts and Connecticut. The New England Trunkline was originally planned as a railroad, but the financier died in the sinking of the Titanic. [5]

The E. N. Jenckes Store Museum Edit

The E.N. Jenckes store and museum sits on Main Street in the village of East Douglas. [2] Ebenezer Balkcom opened a small store at the corner of Main and Pleasant (now Depot) streets during the 1830s, when East Douglas was becoming the economic center of the town. The store changed hands (sold to Gardner Chase) until he retired and sold the building to Edward L. Jenckes. After Jenckes death in 1924 is daughters E. Mialma and Helen R. continued to run the store until the store closed in 1964. The store remained closed until 1972 when the property was donated to the Douglas Historical Society, where it was carefully restored to its original general store appearance of 100 years ago. [6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.7 square miles (98 km 2 ), of which 36.4 square miles (94 km 2 ) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km 2 ), or 3.57%, is water. It includes the Douglas State Forest and is home to Wallum Lake and Whitins Reservoir.

The principal elevations are Bald Hill, 711 feet (217 m), Wallum Pond Hill, 778 feet (237 m), and Mount Daniel, 735 feet (224 m). There are numerous ponds in Douglas: Wallum Pond in the southwest section, covering about 150 acres (61 ha) Badluck Pond in the western part of town, covering about 110 acres (45 ha) the largest pond is Whitin Reservoir also in the western part of town, covering about 400 acres (160 ha) and Manchaug Pond in the northern part, about 93 acres (38 ha).

Douglas has four public schools for children grades preschool through twelfth grade to attend. [7] Douglas Primary School enrolls 230 students (2016-2017) in grades preschool, Kindergarten, and first grade. [7] Douglas Elementary School enrolls 404 students (2016-2017) in second grade through fifth grade. [7] Douglas Middle School enrolls 360 students (2016-2017) in fifth through eighth grade. Douglas High School enrolls 394 students (2016-2017) in ninth through twelfth grade. [7]

Douglas is also a member of the thirteen towns that make up Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School [8] which provides educational opportunities for students grades 9-12 seeking experience and education in a specific career field.

Douglas High School athletics compete as part of the Dual Valley Conference league with Blackstone-Millville Regional High School, Hopedale High School, Nipmuc Regional High School, Sutton High School, and Whitinsville Christian High School. [9]

Historical population
YearPop. ±%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

As of the census [20] of 2000, there were 7,045 people, 2,476 households, and 1,936 families residing in the town. The population density was 193.7 people per square mile (74.8/km 2 ). There were 2,588 housing units at an average density of 71.2 per square mile (27.5/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the town was 97.36% White, 0.48% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.28% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population. From 2000 to 2010 there was a population increase of 20.24%.

There were 2,476 households, out of which 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.6% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 29.6% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 36.4% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $60,529, and the median income for a family was $67,210. Males had a median income of $45,893 versus $31,287 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,036. About 2.3% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 13.0% of those age 65 or over.

The town has an open town meeting form of government. The government broadcasts many of its meetings on the Apple TV platform [21] as well as internet and local cable TV. State, Federal and county level elected state officials are shown in the infobox.

Douglas Boston I, AE458 - History

My late father in law was trained in night navigation, and posted to Bostons flying days only. Can anyone enlighten me as to the role of the Navigator in RAF Bostons? Was the Navigator also the bomb aimer for example? What was the escape route for the Navigator?

He was shot down at Ostende 1942, and taken POW, this aircraft being Z2249. This very same aircraft became the subject of an Italteri plastic kit and of decal sets. Anyone know of any reason why that particular aircraft came to be the subject for the model?

Any good RAF Boston photos out there to share?

Not too sure of this but I seem to recall that the Boston gets a mention in the long running "Gaining a Pilots Brevet in WW2" thread in Military Aircrew section. I think there was reference to it being a bit of a handful, not just the nosewheel, but partly due to the take over of French orders where the throttle action was reversed (perhaps it was Italian. ).
226 Squadron Boston Serial Number: Z2249 Code: MQ-D
Operation: Ostend 27th April 1942
Airborne 1334 Swanton Morley. Shot down by Flak, crashing at Raversijde (West Vlaanderen), 4 km SW of Ostend, where Sgt Handford is buried in the New Communal Cemetery.
F/O W.A. Keech RCAF PoW
Sgt W. Phillips PoW
Sgt D. Handford KIA
F/O W.A. Keech was interned in Camp L3, PoW No.243.
Sgt W. Phillips in Camps L3/L6/357, PoW No.263.
A Donald Duck cartoon character had been painted alongside the aircraft's letter, and a photograph of the crashed Boston appeared in Issue 14 of the German Magazine 'Signal' published in 1943.

It may be that the Donald Duck nose art was one influence on the choice of aircraft, but I suspect some more substantial reasoning may have been involved!
PS: Unfortunately, this also appears to have been 226's first Operational loss.
Is that correct, do you know?
Any further snippets from his memories?
Edit to add: There is a representation of a 226 Sqdn Boston of March '42 here:- WINGS PALETTE - Douglas A-20/DB-7/P-70 Boston/Havoc - Great Britain

I've read that as well plus "observer".

Two hatch choices for egress.

Douglas Boston III, AL721 RH T of 88 Sqn. RAF, May 1942. 40/Boston1.jpg

Boston III, W8268 TH "O" for Ottawa Ontario. Although on RAF strength, aircraft was operated by RCAF 418 (Intruder) Sqn. Note the exhaust-dampers for night ops. Lost over Holland 20 May, 1942. 640/boston.jpg

Steve, what an opportunity!
I suppose I want to know about the work of the Nav. in the RAF Boston. Much has been written (and read by me) about night heavy bombers in the RAF, the problems of finding the target, pathfinders etc, but I am ignorant of how the Boston (and other day bombers) worked. Altitude for cruise to target, bombing heights etc etc.

Noyade, thanks for that diagram, makes it very clear.

Icare9, sadly I don't really know any more.

how did you get on with the Boston veterans?
Hate to see this thread go cold.

Found a good group on Flickr: lots of pictures!

(copy and paste into your browser, I can't remember how to insert links)

During WW11 I grew up within a mile of RAF Hunsdon Herts which had Boston & Hovocs based there, & as a young boy used to cycle there to see these delightful A/C taxi - take-off & land.
Mostly we were chased away by the perimeter guards, but we moved somewhere else & came back later.
Some of the Havocs had the 'Turbinlite' airborne searchlights & on one occasion I saw one light up the sky -- what a thrill that was
I saw many exciting low level flights -- flying between trees at about 50ft etc -- also saw many crashed A/C being taken away on 'Queen - mary' low level recovery vehicles , & lorries carrying coffins with the Union Jack drapped over them.

For youngsters like myself they were exciting times, --- little knowing what a serious position we were in at that time.

I have finally had a response from one of my Boston crew friends as follows:

"I did my navigation training in Southern Rhodesia where we were designated Nav.B (i.e. Navigator/Bomb Aimer). On passing out we were awarded the O Observer brevet. Having done OTU on Baltimores at Giancalis, Egypt we were subsequently posted to Italy where I joined 13 Squadron. In late 1944 they were in process of converting from Baltimores to Bostons. We flew operationally in Boston IVs and Vs and yes, Navs also did the bomb aiming. Our role in Italy was night armed recce. 13 squadron was part of 232 Wing comprising 18, 55 and 114 Squadrons. Following the end of hostilities in Italy 232 Wing (still with Bostons) was posted to Greece and based at Hassani (Athens).

Entry and egress was via a hatch in front of the nose. Being a single seat cockpit, the pilot's "dual" position was lying flat in the empty dinghy space overlooking the cockpit, i.e. when learning the drill at conversion. It will be noted that in the later marks the nav's compartment was all clear and unimpeded perspex.

The least enviable position was the W/Op, somewhat cramped and looking over the back hatch. The nav had a very good view of everything. We were a crew of four pilot, nav, W/Op and top gunner. Navs were later advised to change the O brevet to N."

Eric also sent me some photos of his aircraft and crews, but I cannot see how to attach them here.

Steve, thank you for posting Eric's info. I am grateful in particular for the confirmation that the Navigator was also the Bombardier. Together with the pics. posted earlier I am getting a clearer picture.

I understand that an A20 has been acquired for the RAF museum. Wasn't there a Boston nose/cockpit somewhere? Would be great if that could be displayed alongside the A20, especially if it had all of the fixtures and fittings.

Frederick Douglass' Paper (Rochester, N.Y.), 1851-1860

In June 1851, The North Star merged with the Liberty Party Paper (Syracuse, New York), under the title, Frederick Douglass' Paper. Still published in Rochester with volume and issue numbering continuing from The North Star, Douglass remained editor. Former Liberty Party Paper editor, John Thomas, was listed as corresponding editor. Gerrit Smith, the wealthy abolitionist and staunch Liberty Party supporter, encouraged the merger. Smith, who had provided some funding for The North Star, provided more financial support for Frederick Douglass' Paper, as Douglass joined Smith as a political abolitionist. A letter from Smith appeared on page 3 of the first issue of the Paper on June 26, 1851: "Much joy is expressed that you have settled down upon the anti-slavery interpretation of the federal Constitution." This viewpoint meant a complete break from William Lloyd Garrison and the American Anti-Slavery Society and their support of nonvoting, pacifism, and the rejection of the Constitution as a proslavery document.

In 1859, Douglass added a monthly as a supplement to the weekly paper, but by mid-1860, Douglass' Monthly replaced the weekly publication, as he increasingly focused on the impending Civil War and, during the war, on recruitment and acceptance of black troops. Douglass only ended the monthly publication in August 1863, when promised an army commission by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton after separate meetings with Stanton and President Lincoln about unequal pay and poor treatment of black troops. The commission never materialized, but 16 years of newspaper publication ended. 2


Anybody remember Mondo's restaurant? Originally it was in Quincy Market. When it got renovated for the bicentennial he moved to so Boston near the Channel Club in a triangle shaped building. My mother was a waitress there and I worked as a busboy, the graveyard shift when I was 12, that was about 1972.

Here' a description I found in an article: "After midnight, you could get breakfast all night at a colorful spot in the central meat market called Mondo’s. (Mondo’s clientele of night-owl students, taxi drivers, artists, and prostitutes has never been reassembled, but its collection of amateur nude oil paintings was a precursor to the Museum of Bad Art.)"


40 years of Boston (Phoenix) food

Mondo's was THE place for a great breakfast and a Roast Beef dinner that was so huge the meat was bigger than the plate. We followed him from South Market St. to Melcher St. to Essex St. and to Canal St. which was, as far as we knew, his last location. I remember he would sometimes be sleeping on the sacks of flour in the kitchen because it seems like he never left his restaurant.

Mondo's was just one of the many great late night places lost over the years, including Buzzy's, Aku-Aku, Riley's, The Golden Egg, Pizza Pad and Chinatown's "Green Door" on the corner of Beech and Oxford Streets.

I hadn't thought about that place in decades. My grandfather's produce business was right across from it, and I used to go into "the market" with him as a kid (we lived with my grandparents in Saugus, where his carnation greenhouse business was that my dad ran). There was a restaurant right next door to his business, The State Luncheonette, we ate in more often, but sometimes he'd go to Mondo's. I loved it there.

Heading home he'd loop through the North End at the tunnel entrance and stop at Martinetti's Liquors and double park, and send me in to pick up a case of wine and a carton of Chesterfields for the weekend. Back when a seven year old kid could do that and have the cop in front of the store pat me on the head.

The photo is from a 1940 Boston Globe article on the hard life of the market men back then. That's my grandfather John Cerasuolo on the left, playing cards. There is still a John Cerasuolo Company today, over in Chelsea where the product market moved in the 1970s when they were renovating Quincy Market into what it is today.

Watch the video: Matchbox Mondays #26 Douglas BostonHavoc 1:72 PK-120