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Frederick Douglass to Amy Post, January 30, 1848



[Albany, N.Y.] 30 Jan[uary] 1848.


I am in Albany and shall lecture this evening in the court house at Troy.1Douglass spoke at a “large and spirited” antislavery meeting in the courthouse in Troy, New York, on Sunday, 30 January 1848. NS, 11 February 1848. I found my Dear Rosetta2Rosetta (1839–1906), the first child of Anna and Frederick Douglass, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on 24 June 1839. In her childhood Rosetta wrote and read letters for her mother, whom she assisted with housework and piecework for the shoe factories in Lynn, Massachusetts. At age seven, Rosetta was sent by Douglass to school in Albany, New York, where she lived with Abigail and Lydia Mott. When the Douglass family moved to Rochester, Rosetta began attending the Seward Seminary, where her presence offended the parents of one of the white students and led to her segregation from the other pupils. Her father, in a fury, removed Rosetta from the school and hired a private tutor for his daughter. Rosetta, along with her three brothers, then led other students in efforts to desegregate Rochester’s public school system. From 1854 to 1855, Rosetta attended Oberlin College preparatory school, one of the first institutions of higher education to accept both African Americans and women. She became a teacher in Philadelphia and Salem, Massachusetts, until her marriage in 1863 to Nathan Sprague, with whom she had six children. Before her death in 1906, she wrote a memoir of her mother that remains one of the most complete documents of Anna Murray Douglass’s life. Sprague, My Mother As I Recall Her; Sterling, We Are Your Sisters, 132–45; Ellen N. Lawson and Marlene Merrill, “The Antebellum ‘Talented Thousandth’: Black College Students at Oberlin before the Civil War,” Journal of Negro Education, 52:145 (Spring 1983); Miriam DeCosta—Willis, “Smoothing the Tucks in Father’s Linen: The Women in Cedar Hill,” Sage, 4:30–33 (Fall 1987); Sylvia Lyons Render, “Afro-American Women: The Outstanding and the Obscure,” Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, 32:307–10 (October 1975). quite well, and delighted to see her father. The miss Motts3Abigail and Lydia Mott. are well. My object in dropping you this line is to inform you that I performed the object of my mission to West Winfield.4Soon after beginning publication of the North Star, Douglass spoke before an antislavery fair held at West Winfield, New York, on 26 and 27 January 1848. The Ladies Anti-Slavery Society of West Winfield sponsored the event. NASS, 6, 27 January, 3 February 1848. I made a fair statements of the fact,—and informed of our desire to have their cooperation with the Western New York Antislavery Society5Dominated by abolitionists from Rochester, the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society formed in 1843 to serve the cause of immediate abolition in the western New York region. Women activists including Amy Post, Sarah Hallowell, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony were prominent members and leaders of the group. Douglass joined the organization following his move to Rochester in 1847. NASS, 6, 27 January, 3 February 1848; Hewitt, Women ’s Activism and Social Change, 60, 141, 235.—and som[e]thing as I expected proves to be the case. While Mrs. Greene6Miranda A. E. Green was corresponding secretary for the West Winfield Ladies Anti-Slavery Society. She and her sister, Laura, were also spiritualist mediums. NASS, 3 February 1848; Stanton and Anthony, Papers, 1:339. was in Boston, Mrs. Chapman7Maria Weston Chapman. exacted a promise from her that the proceeds of the fair8The Ladies Anti-Slavery Society of West Winfield netted $193 at the fair, and Douglass hoped that part of the sum might be given to the North Star. NASS, 3 February 1848. should go to the support of the National Antislavery Standard. This promise has somewhat, if not completely tied the hands of the committe though I hope that we shall share some of the proceeds of the Bazaar as their was quite a division of opinion in the committee respecting the matter.

I am Dear Friend—with love to all the family—In great haste yours most Sincerely,


ALS: Post Family Papers, NRU.



Douglass, Frederick




Yale University Press 2009



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