We at The Bailey-Groce Family Foundation, Inc. and Operation Frederick Douglass on the Hill are committed to preserving the legacy of Frederick Douglass by ensuring accurate and respectful portrayals of our ancestor and his accomplishments.
The Bailey and Groce Family families are primary descendants of Perry Bailey, the older brother of Frederick Douglass and the first born of Harriet Bailey. We are the leading advocates for historical accuracy where our family is concerned in the state of Maryland. Born enslaved in Talbot County in 1818, Frederick Douglass self-liberated and went on to become an ardent abolitionist, renowned orator and writer, and one of the first African American statesmen. We believe Frederick Douglass’s legacy must be presented with utmost respect and sensitivity.
The mural of Frederick Douglass now displayed on Washington Street in Easton, Maryland, fails to meet the standard we expect. We were not informed that the mural was being erected, nor were we consulted. Our family finds the mural disturbing and disrespectful to the legacy of our family. The representation of Frederick Douglass in a posture typically associated with gang activity or drug dealers is offensive. Frederick Douglass never wanted to be viewed as an amiable slave or viewed as a black man on his knees.
Our commitment to preserving the true essence of Frederick Douglass and the Bailey-Groce story is unwavering. It is our responsibility to ensure that his contributions to society are represented with integrity, avoiding any derogatory or misrepresentative portrayals that perpetuate harmful stereotypes.
We must be mindful of how our African American ancestors are depicted. If we turn a blind eye to this depiction of Douglass, what’s next? Harriet Tubman half dressed on a wall? We welcome further discussion on the matter. But, we cannot tolerate this level of disrespect