Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Q: Someone told me that Frederick Douglass visited Rising Sun. Do you have any information on that?

— Caitlin McCann

A: A week before Cecil County residents celebrated the arrival of the New Year, welcoming in 1886, Frederick Douglass, the aging social reformer, orator and writer, traveled to Cecil County to lecture on “Self-Made Men” in Rising Sun. On his way to the meeting sponsored by the town’s literary society, the abolitionist leader, who had escaped from slavery on a route that took him across the county, stopped for a few hours in Port Deposit. There he was greeted by a number of residents. A number of people came down from Oxford and Chester County to hear Frederick Douglass speak at the Methodist Church in town. Tickets were 35-cents while reserved seating was available for 50-cents. The great orator was “honored with a large and appreciative audience on Monday evening” Dec. 21, 1885, the Rising Sun newspaper, the Midland Journal observed. “The weight of years has stolen the fire from Fred Douglas’ [sic] eloquence; and slavery has gone, which nerved him to combat as he says, but the fluent language and easy grace of the champion of the rostrum still clings round the old orator as he slides down the last hill side to the river’s edge,” the editor added.

— Mike Dixon

Do you have a question about Cecil County that the Historical Society of Cecil County’s panel of experts might be able to answer? Send them to history@cecilwhig.com.

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