Frederick Douglass Visits Salisbury

Frederick Douglass_SalisburyThanks to friend Jefferson Boyer (and volunteer with the Nabb Research Center at Salisbury University), I got to learn some wonderful history, a slice of history either not known or forgotten until Jefferson brought the history to light.  Thank you Jefferson!

Click on the miniature of the second article and enlarge it to view the February 28, 1880 published account of Douglass’ lecture.  An interesting aside is that in the February 21th issue announcing the event was an article reporting on the death of Douglass’ former master, Capt. Thomas Auld of St. Michaels of Talbot County, Maryland.  Anyone interested in a copy of that article, contact me.

Douglass visited Salisbury, Maryland, at a time when the courthouse was fairly new.  And the second Frederick Douglass_Salisbury articlearticle by the newspaper, reporting on the lecture, was pretty darn insulting, though I wonder if the author wasn’t holding back a tad.

It is likely that Douglass came to do this as a fundraiser although I have not found any further information requesting or arranging his visit.  At that time, the John Wesley M.E. Church of Salisbury was a one-story structure and the pastor at that time was attributed to orchestrating renovations that expanded the church to include the second floor.  Solomon Huston was a prominent resident, quite influential, and a member of the church.  He also lived almost directly across from the church, his house was on Church Street within the block.

Today the building is the Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center, named for the prominent educator.  The first floor of the building is old, the original part of the structure.  And who knows, Douglass likely visited the church, maybe even attended a service, although I have not looked into any records to determine if it is true.  So anyone knowing, let me know!  The Chipman Foundation was thrilled to learn this history, and kudos should go to Jefferson.

— Linda Duyer

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