PSC presentation to examination Frederick Douglass' place in W.Va. history

Debra Swick-Cruse
Special to the News Tribune
American journalist, author, former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass (circa 1818 - 1895).

KEYSER - Internationally known in life and afterlife, Frederick Douglass was an author, orator, abolitionist, suffragist and American reformist.  The history and placement of Douglass in the growing academic field of Appalachian Studies has not been aptly considered, nor recognized – until now.

A presentation of the history involving Douglass and his involvement in West Virginia history will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 5-7 p.m., in the Davis Conference Center on the campus of WVU Potomac State College.  

This event is free and open to the public.

Following the Civil War, Douglass made more than a half-dozen visits across West Virginia from the Eastern Panhandle to the Northern Panhandle to the Kanawha River Valley, securing speaking engagements in the communities of Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg, Wheeling and Parkersburg, as well as others.

During his travels throughout the Mountain State, Douglass served as a keynote speaker at emancipation celebrations and was an associate of many notable West Virginians, including Governor Arthur Boreman; J. R. Clifford (newspaper publisher, civil rights pioneer and WV’s first Black attorney); and Archibald W. Campbell (newspaper editor/owner, influential with West Virginia statehood movement), among others.  

Furthermore, Douglass served on the Board of Trustees for Storer College, West Virginia’s first historically Black college/university.

“The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in the Mountain State” will be publicly presented for the first time at Potomac State College by Douglassonian scholars John Muller and Justin McNeil, co-founders of Lost History Associates in Washington, D.C.

The presentation will include maps, prints, letters, newspapers, photographs and more to provide a visual telling of the expansive history of Frederick Douglass in West Virginia and his connection to the Mountain State.  A question and answer session will follow.

For more information, contact Professor Caitlin Hudgins at caitlin.hudgins@mail.wvu.edu or at 304-788-6984.