Black History In Maryland

Frederick Douglas

Frederick Douglass lived from 1817 to 1895 and was born in Frederick, Maryland. He was an American negro abolitionist and reformer. He was a very smart and spirited leader. He escaped from slavery in 1838 and settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He Related his slavery experiences in an abolitionist meeting in Nantucket and for the next 4 years, despite many insults, he lectured throughout the east for antislavery groups. In 1845 he published "The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass" it revealed his matters identity and endangered his liberty. In 1847 he published his own abolitionist newspaper, "The North Star," in Rockchester, New York until 1863. When the Civil War came, Douglass fought for the enlistment of black men in the Union army and assisted in recruiting the 54th and 55th Massachusetts colored Regiment, which later won distinction in battle. As the war progressed President Lincoln offered Douglass a position as representative of his people. In 1877 he was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes to the post of US marshal of the District of Columbia. Until two years before his death Douglass held a succession of offices- including that of recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia.

Luther Martin

Luther Martin made himself know as a representative of Maryland at the Philedelphia Convention of 1787. Maryland ratified the Constitution on April 28, 1788 and became the first state to do so. It also sold territory and advanced money to build public buildings to help form the District of Columbia. As a member of the Union, Maryland was asked questions about slavery, agriculture, education, and religion, and others which required attention and wisdom on their solution. The Constitution of 1776 allowed free negroes to vote for members of the lower house of legislatures but this privledge was canceled by an amendment in 1810

Blacks In Civil WarIn 1860 as the Civil War approached, Maryland was a divided state because it had social, economic, and political ties with both North and South. Its population included approximately 87,000 negro slaves and 84,000 free negroes. The state's geographic position made it adherence to the Union a necessity, President Lincoln and the military authorities prevented it leaving by using the writ of habeas corpus, establishing martial law, controlling elections, suppressing pro-southern newspapers and by making arbitrary threats and imprisonments. After Virginia joined the confederacy, the fate of the District of Columbia depended on whether Maryland joined the Union. If Maryland had joined the Confederacy, the District of Columbia would be surrounded by Confederate Territory.

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