Thank you Cambridge & Salisbury for honoring and uplifting the local history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass & Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe (PHOTOS)

In less than twenty-four hours this past weekend a trinity of events organized in the Eastern Shore cities of Cambridge in Dorchester County and Salisbury in Wicomico County helped to spread the good news of the consequential local, state, national and international history and influence of the visits and connections of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to the Mid-Shore and Lower Shore.

We would like to thank all organizations and individuals who assisted with the organizing and promoting of the events and especially those who attended the presentations and walking tour.

In no special order we would like to acknowledge and thank the Dorchester County Historical Society, the Dr. Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center, Pine Street Douglassonians, Maryland Delegate and Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes, Maryland Delegate Johnny Mautz, Maryland Senator Addie Eckardt, Salisbury City Mayor Jacob Day, Miss Shirley Jackson, Honorable Mr. William Jarmon, Honorable Mr. Tyrone Jarmon, Honorable Ann Phillips, Sharon Lucas, American University Professor Tony Gualtieri, Master Historian Jeff “The Dude” Sarvey, Kate & Jeff Fones of the St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square, Mr. Jim Dawson of Unicorn Book shop, the Washington Informer, the Star Democrat, the Salisbury Independent, the New Bedford Historical Society, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, Salisbury City Heritage Marker Committee Chairwoman Linda Duyer, Salisbury City Council President John “Jack” Heath, Wicomico County NAACP Branch 7028 President Mary Ashanti, Fran, James, William Robinson of the University of Maryland – Eastern Shore, the Douglass Family and Bailey Tribe of the Eastern Shore, and Old Anacostia Douglassonians, among many others.

Lost History of Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe

Dorchester County County Historical Society


September 20, 2019

Image may contain: 6 people, including John Yahya H Muller, people smiling, people standing
L-R: John Muller, presenter, Old Anacostia Douglassonian; Jim Dawson, Unicorn Book Shop, Trappe, Maryland; Honorable Ms. Shirley Jackson, Dorchester County Historical Society, Waugh Chapel UMC; Honorable William “Bill” Jarmon, Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center, Pine Street Douglassonian; Sharon Lucas, great-grand niece of Rev. Henry A. Monroe; Maryland Senator Addie Eckardt, District 37, Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties.

Image may contain: one or more people, screen and indoor
Pictured speaking Honorable Ms. Shirley Jackson; Dorchester County Historical Society, Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church, Choptank Regional History Discussion Group, Dorchester County Douglassonian, Guardian of Cambridge History of Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, screen and indoor
Speaking Maryland Delegate & Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes; District 37A, Dorchester and Wicomico Counties. The Honorable Del. Sample-Hughes is a respected public servant and steadfast presence in the indigenous Eastern Shore Douglassonian Communities of Cambridge and Salisbury. We thank Del. Sample-Hughes for her remarks recognizing and championing local history to empower local communities.

Walking Tour of Frederick Douglass in Cambridge, Maryland

Historic High Street, Historic Pine Street and Historic Race Street

September 21, 2019

Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, est 1847. Historic Pine Street, Old Cambridge, Maryland.
Walking tour goers read the historic marker and take note of the historic church bell.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree and outdoor
Dennis the Menace Douglassonian from the Upper Shore holds two Osage oranges on High Street in Old Cambridge. Consulting arboriculturists have confirmed it is highly likely this tree is more than 150 years old and is a witness tree to the visit of United States Marshal of the District of Columbia Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to Cambridge in 1877 and 1878. Photo by William Alston-El.

Image may contain: sky, tree, cloud, car and outdoor
Honorable Mr. Tyrone Jarmon, Pine Street Douglassonian, speaks with walking tour group about the history of his community over the past 70 or so years. We thank Mr. Jarmon, 1/2 of the duo of the “Charmin’ Jarmon Tour,” for his generosity, hospitality and authorizing our friend to ring the sacred church bell of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, est. 1847.

Image may contain: 3 people, sky and outdoor
Harriet Tubman Mural by local muralist of international renown Honorable Michael Rosato in downtown Cambridge.

Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Salisbury & the Lower Eastern Shore

Dr. Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center


September 21, 2019

Image may contain: one or more people, table and indoor
Shanie Shields speaks about the history of the John Wesley M.E. Church, today the Dr. Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center in Salisbury, Maryland.

Image may contain: table, living room and indoor
Linda Duyer, author of Round the Pond (2009), shares a cartographic view of the 1880 visit of United States Marshal Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to Salisbury and movement to his speaking engagement in the extant Wicomico County Courthouse.

Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor
Amber Green, a native Washingtonian and Eastern Shore media personality and activist, shares Robert Hayden’s poem, “Frederick Douglass.” Photo by Salisbury City Mayor Honorable Jacob Day.

Image may contain: sky, house, tree, cloud and outdoor
The Dr. Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center, the former John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, in Salisbury, Maryland dates to 1838 and is the oldest building on the Delmarva Peninsula independently built and maintained by peoples of African descent. A national landmark status is reportedly pending review.

Thank you Star Democrat, “Muller to present lost history of Frederick Douglass’ godson” (Sunday, September 1, 2019, by Candice Spector)

No photo description available.

Thank you to the Star Democrat, the daily paper of record for the Upper and Mid-Shore of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, for the continued support of public history presentations throughout the Shore.

As Dickson Preston was a frequent contributor to the Star Democrat and was a historian of Eastern Shore newspapers we appreciate the support and press beyond language and print.



Muller returns to Shore to present lost history of Frederick Douglass’ godson” (STAR DEMOCRAT. Sunday, September 1, 2019. By: Candice Spector)

Thank you to The Washington Informer for featuring “‘Lost History’ Forum Remembers Eastern Shore’s Sole Black Newspaper” in print edition

Thank you to our friends in the local press and family at The Washington Informer, established in Washington, D.C. in 1964, for their work in the trenches of our communities.

It is our opinion The Washington Informer is the premier weekly of the national “Black Press” covering the most powerful city in the world from the front steps, public meetings, mayoral press conferences, halls of the United States Congress, bus stops and corners around the world.

No language can express our gratitude that Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe, publisher and editor of “The Standard Bearer” (1879-1881), is being so properly and respectfully recognized by the Washington Informer and Honorable Douglassonian Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes, respected and known by peasants and presidents as were Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass and Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe.Across generations and centuries the Black Press of the United States of America, the “Colored Press” in a previous era of Douglass and Monroe, has documented, written and photographed the first draft of the history of this country.

No photo description available.

Hope to see some old friends and meet new friends Friday, September 20, 2019 at 6:30 PM at the Dorchester County Historical Society in Cambridge, Maryland.


‘Lost History’ Forum Remembers Eastern Shore’s Sole Black Newspaper; Speakers Tout Publisher, the Rev. H. A. Monroe, Godson to Frederick Douglass.

Washington Informer, August 29, 2019 – September 4, 2019. page 37.

Honorable Winifred Monroe Howard, grand-daughter of Rev. Henry A. Monroe (2013 photo courtesy of Museum of African American History – Boston and Nantucket)

Honorable Winifred Monroe Howard, grand-daughter of Rev. Henry A. Monroe, in 2013.
Courtesy of Museum of African American History – Boston and Nantucket

When the “Freedom Rising” exhibit opened in 2013 at the Museum of African American History – Boston and Nantucket, Rev. Henry A. Monroe’s granddaughter, Winifred Monroe Howard, came to the exhibit opening and posed for a picture with his image.

According to Honorable Sharon Lucas, shortly after this photo was taken Honorable Winifred Monroe passed.

At the September 20, 2019 presentation of Lost History: Rev. H. A. Monroe, Godson to Frederick Douglass and Publisher of The Eastern Shore’s Only Black Newspaper Hon. Sharon Lucas will speak about her aunt’s guardianship and preservation of the history of Rev. Monroe.

No language can express our gratitude to the family of Rev. Monroe for their collective commitment to the community and public service to all of humanity across generations and centuries.

1877 map of Somerset County, Potatoe Neck District; Fairmount, community of Frederick Douglass godson Henry Augustus Monroe

Due assistance from the superb reference librarians at the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury University we have been able to confirm the general whereabouts of the Wilson family (families) in the Potatoe Neck area of Somerset County’s Fairmount community.

An 1877 cartographic survey of Maryland’s Eastern Shore counties and communities yields clues more than a century later to understand the lost history of a drummer boy of the Massachusetts 54th Infantry (US Colored Troops) being deployed to the southernmost county of Maryland’s Lower Shore by his Godfather Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass where he would marry into a local family before yet twenty years old.

According to the 1870 census Henry August Monroe is living in the Potatoe Neck, the southernmost green area on the below map.

A review of the 1877 map of Fairmount reflects a clustering of “Wilsons” in an area west of “Upper Freetown.”

In late 1868 Christiana A. Wilson of Fairmount, Maryland wed the educator and Civil War veteran Henry Augustus Monroe of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Reportedly the Wilson family of Fairmount was prominent in the oyster trade and leaders in local religious and political affairs.

Points of Interest:

William Wilson House

Historic Churches of Somerset County; Somerset: An Architectural History (1990)

Centennial United Methodist Church (razed)

Upper Fairmount School

Upper Fairmount Historic District

Mt. Zion Memorial Church (Princess Anne)


The 1877 Atlases and other Early Maps of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Bicentennial Edition, 1776 – 1976. Wicomico Bicentennial Commission. Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture collection.

Monthly Report of Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Education Division; Hartford, Talbot & Somerset Counties (Maryland); October 1868

To properly uplift the lost history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass on Maryland’s Eastern Shore there must be a greater understanding of the communal, religious, education, social and political institutions before and after the Civil War.

Reconstruction in the border state of Maryland brought forth the establishment of schools for “colored students” under the authority of the Freedmen’s Bureau, a subject of scholarship lost within the cocktail society of today’s disinterested and unknowing tax-payer funded historical organizations and institutions of higher learning.

In our survey of the Shore bibliography there is a small list of books, journal articles and other sources which discuss the Freedmen’s Bureau in Maryland but it would appear the history has largely been lost on the Shore.

Specifically, the history of educator Henry Augustus Monroe has been lost within its local, regional and national consequence.

It is our understanding Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass assisted and/or encouraged Monroe, a native of Massachusetts and drummer boy for the famed 54th Infantry, to go down South to Maryland’s Eastern Shore and use his education to reach one teach one.

At the recording of this document Monroe is either 19 or 20 years old.


United States, Freedmen’s Bureau, Records of the Superintendent of Education and of the Division of Education, 1865-1872

Lost History: Rev. H. A. Monroe, Godson to Frederick Douglass and Publisher of The Eastern Shore’s Only Black Newspaper (Dorchester County Historical Society, Sept. 20, 2019 @ 6:30 PM)

Following last fall’s presentation of “The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Cambridge, Maryland,” at the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center, historian and journalist John Muller returns to Cambridge to present “Lost History: Rev. H. A. Monroe, Godson to Frederick Douglass and Publisher of The Eastern Shore’s Only Black Newspaper,” at the Dorchester County Historical Society.

Special guest Sharon Lucas, descendant of Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe, will provide remarks.

Q&A will follow the presentation.

Untold in the history books is the story of Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe, who at 13 years of age served as a drummer boy for the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (U.S. Colored Troops) with the blessing of his Godfather Frederick Douglass.

Following the Civil War, the New Bedford, Massachusetts-born and educated Monroe was sent to Somerset County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to serve as an educator and supervisor for the Freedmen’s Bureau Division of Schools. It was in Fairmont, Maryland that Monroe met his first wife, the daughter of a well-respected local oystering family.

After receiving a patronage position in Baltimore City during the Grant Administration, Monroe and his family returned to Princess Anne, Maryland where Monroe started the only “Black Press” newspaper on the Eastern Shore.

Joining the Methodist ministry, Monroe served as pastor of Waugh Chapel in Cambridge, Maryland from 1881 until 1883 where he became a well-respected editor, historian and community leader.

In 1886 Monroe respectfully declined the opportunity to serve as the first principal of the Princess Anne Academy, founded by the Delaware Conference.

While serving as pastor for a church in New York City Monroe and a fellow delegation of ministers traveled to Washington City where they met with Frederick Douglass at the train station who escorted the group to meet with the President of the United States regarding conditions in the American South, including Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Holding prominent leadership positions within the church and communities of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia, Monroe was active until his passing in 1912.

Free parking is available on site.


$8 non-members, $5 Dorchester County Historical Society members, free Dorchester County Public School students

Brief note: To those who disgrace the lost local history of Frederick Douglass, Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe & co. on the Eastern Shore

“With the United States cap on your head, the United States eagle on your belt, the United States musket on your shoulder, not all the powers of darkness can prevent you from becoming American citizens. And not for yourselves alone are you marshaled — you are pioneers — on you depends the destiny of four millions of the colored race in this country . . . If you rise and flourish, we shall rise and flourish. If you win freedom and citizenship, we shall share your freedom and citizenship.”

– Frederick Douglass January 29, 1864, Fair Haven, Connecticut; address to the 29th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry regiment (USCT)

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

During a walking tour this past Saturday (13 July, 2019) of Old Cambridge City our delegation of Douglassonians gathered in front of Waugh Chapel at the junction of High Street and Pine Street to reflect and recognize Rev. Henry Augustus Monroe.

Although down range on Pine Street a historical marker in front of Bethel AME denotes that church’s history, there is no comparative historical marker in front of Waugh Chapel. No representation of and for Rev. Monroe in any existing popular literature covering the history of the community.


In recently speaking with a descendant of Rev. Monroe I heard an interesting anecdote. The Monroe descendant told me they attempted to broach the subject of their ancestor’s connections to Douglass at a book talk with Pulitzer-prize winning speculative historian and Yale University Sterling Professor David Blight.

Blight reportedly dismissively responded, “It’s probably in there somewhere.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a singular example of the disgraceful perpetuation of an institutional historical industrial complex which values superficiality and convenient mythology over the exacting quest for truth and fact that drives millions of collective genealogists, and historians of families and localized communities and regions throughout our sacred soil.

As an omnipotent mythomane David W. Blight is a complete disgrace to the scholastic and communal legacy of Dickson J. Preston who gave and took no quarter from intellectual cowards in his quest during the 1970s and 1980s to discover and uplift the lost and fallen history of Frederick Douglass in Baltimore and throughout the Shore.

In recent memory and across time, too many local Shore communities have been taken advantage of by those motivated not to uplift fallen humanity with lost history but to uplift their own social and political profile. People have made big coin off the veneer of local history. I needn’t name names. We know who they are.

There are those, such as Dickson J. Preston, who have labored in investigative research, historians as detectives. Then there are those who are always in the photos but have barely lifted a finger to help anyone other than themselves. We know who they are.

Current conditions within certain Shore local history communities are a disgraceful testament to the historical legacy of Frederick Douglass and his expansive networks throughout the peoples and political, educational, business and theological institutions of the Shore.

Blessed may be the merciful but I will afford no mercy to those who have disgraced the history and the community.

An awareness, appreciation and recognition of this lost Douglassonian community history will rise while the wicked will fall and perish.

Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.

Psalm 141:10 King James Bible