Attendees of a historic walking tour in Frederick Saturday had the opportunity to learn about Frederick in Frederick.

Frederick Douglass in the city of Frederick, that is.

John Muller, an author, speaker and historian, led the tour. His book, “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia,” was published in 2012, and as a result of the continuous research on Douglass in D.C., he has offered walking tours on the Eastern Shore, Baltimore and throughout Washington D.C., as well as Frederick and western Maryland locations.

Douglass visited Frederick in April 1879, where he spoke in present day Brewer’s Alley and gave a lecture to benefit what is today Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

“Frederick City is an important component of Frederick Douglass’ activism within the state of Maryland,” Muller said. “So this is just an opportunity to connect with the local community to kind of discuss and further the local history. And it’s really part of kind an ongoing process to uplift an awareness and recognition of Frederick Douglass throughout the state.”

The tour, entitled “Lost History Walking Tour: Marshal Frederick Douglass & Frederick City,” began on South Bentz Street at the Roger B. Taney House and was set to wrap up at the Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. It lasts about two hours.

Douglass, who was born in 1818 and escaped from slavery in 1838, was a human rights leader, abolitionist and the first Black citizen to hold high rank in the U.S. government.

Muller has been leading walking tours since about 2013, starting the program mainly in Washington and Baltimore. This is now the sixth or seventh time he’s offered the tour in Frederick, where he’s been leading them since 2019, he said.

“I’ve been in touch with different community organizations and leaders within Frederick and have done some research at the Maryland Room at the C. Burr Artz Library … so just kind of been a continuing, ongoing process to become more familiar with the community,” he said.

Muller said he generally has a good response to the tour.

“The tour’s conversational, so I try to ask people where they’re from and then maybe make my talking points specific to where they’re from,” he said. “And people are always very interested to learn that there is history in Frederick that is kind of beyond the scope of the Civil War, because the Civil War thematically is so heavy, and this is more kind of Reconstruction.”

When Douglass spoke in Frederick, the tour leader noted, he was on stage with Frederick native Dr. Lewis Henry Steiner, who, following the Civil War, advocated for schools for Black Americans and later was the lead librarian of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.

“[The tour] is integral to the history of the city in terms of the religious networks, the African Methodist networks that are essentially expanding westward from Baltimore City, and many of these connections that Frederick Douglass had with Baltimore, these gentlemen come out to western Maryland,” Muller said. “It’s kind of trying to put the pieces of the puzzle of a larger Black history in the state of Maryland and connecting Frederick not just hyper-local Frederick, but Frederick in the context of the state history.”

Mykáh Frazier and her mom, Marlo Frazier, attended the walk together. The two are from South Carolina and are visiting the D.C. area.

“Most of the museums [in D.C.] are closed and so I was like, ‘Well, I want to do something history related.’ I like history, and I was going through events in the area and I saw that there was a Frederick Douglass walking tour, some lost history,” Mykáh Frazier said.

A political science major, Frazier was drawn to the tour and said she was looking forward to seeing the actual landmarks and having a good visualization of those landmarks.

While the tour provides a wealth of information, Muller said he hopes one thing people gain is the knowledge that as the tour processes down Market Street and 3rd Street, they’re following in the footsteps of many famous Marylanders, Douglass included.

Muller noted that the institution that Douglass spoke to benefit, Quinn Chapel AME Church, is still an active and integral part of the community.

“That history connects from today back to 1879,” he said.

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(18) comments


Glad to see this offered. It's a shame that Twitter mobs and the Woke Liberals are trying to erase so much of our history. One can find WWII tours in Germany that do not try to erase their shameful past, but present it as what happened at the time and what there is to learn from it.


I guess I'm a Woke Liberal. I have no problem with removing statuary that memorializes slaveholders and defenders of slavery. That's not the same as trying to erase history. It's trying not to glorify evil. I'll bet those tours in Germany don't go past any statues to Hitler, Goebbels or Goering. You can explain things without promoting them. Pretty simple.


So, as a woke liberal then, are you for removing all statues of Washington and Jefferson, along with the memorials to those two, plus the statues and memorials to all the other founding fathers who once owned slaves? What about statues to Grant? He won the war to free slaves, but was a slave owner himself at one time. What about the thousands of free blacks owned slaves themselves? Should that fact be stricken from history books? If you answer No to any of these questions, then answer another one for me: why not?


Did Washington and Jefferson contribute to this country anything beyond defending slavery by committing treason and killing other Americans? I’m pretty sure they did. They actually did things worth celebrating.


So,seven, is it your opinion then that people who "actually did things worth celebrating" were justified in owning slaves? And that statues and memorials to those slave owners should remain in place, in spite of the fact that they held people in bondage against their will? Were their slaves treated any better than the slaves of future Confederates because, in your opinion, these men "actually did things worth celebrating?" FYI, there are millions and millions of people in a major region of this country who think that Confederate leaders did not commit treason, and did do things worth celebrating, and your opinion means no more than theirs do.


What does the slang term ‘woke’ mean to you?


It means nothing to me, Aw. Does it mean something to you?



Don't pay any attention to Reek. His morals and compass are so flexible that his 'True North' is a spiral. Just remember. It is all projection with right wingers that's all they got now.


I’m pretty sure Americans still remember the Civil War.

Now, where are all those statues memorializing the strong, brave Americans who endured the tortures of slavery? Talk about some erased history!

Men whose sole claim to fame was that they committed treason and killed fellow Americans in their attempt to guarantee the enslavement of Black Americans do not deserve a statue. What would we be celebrating?


So, bottom line with you then is it was OK for some to own slaves, but not others. Right?


Was it OK? It was done. Both Jefferson and Washington owned slaves and also spoke out against slavery and also freed some or all of them. They also founded the United States.

Legalized enslavement is and always will be a grave injustice. There were those Americans who wished see it ended and those who would kill anyone who wanted to end it.

Owning enslaved people in the time when it was legal is not the entirety of a person. Owning enslaved people and then turning traitor and fighting a war to keep enslavement in place is an entirely different matter.


Those are your opinions seven and, as I said, there are millions of people who have differing ones. Either way, you failed to answer my question, which is hardly surprising. So, apparently to you, it was it OK for some to own slaves, but not others, as long as the slave owners, in your opinion again, did something that you approve of, correct?


And on another note, seven, Jefferson and Washington founded the United States, a country where slavery was allowed to thrive and prosper for almost 100 years after that founding. I'm not sure that constitutes it being OK to be a slave owner, even though you do.


CD, you seem to always have a lot of questions that you need others to answer for you, on your personal beliefs in ‘rightness or wrongness’. Are you conscience of that fact? Especially if the subject deals with events held by or including minorities. What’s up with that? Would that mean you are ‘unwoke’? Needing to be wakened.


Aw, I don't "need" anyone to answer my questions. I ask them to clarify someones stance on a matter and, as you may have noticed, quite often I don't get answers simply because people don't like the spot my questions put them on. And usually that spot is when they realize that their arguments just don't hold water.


There were two WWII POW camps located in Frederick County—both exclusively holding Germans—Camp Ritchie and Camp Frederick. Don’t know of any tours.🤷‍♂️


The tour may provide a wealth of information but sadly, the article did not. The only take away I got from the article about the connection with Frederick Douglass is that he came to Frederick once to "gave a lecture to benefit what is today Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church." It reminds me of all the places with their claim to fame is that George Washington slept there. Could we please get a little more substance to what should have been an interesting article.


The last picture should not be included with the story, the house closed for tours years ago and is not open to the public right now.

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