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LEARN & EXPLORE
  • STATE FORESTS AND ARBORETUMS: FREDERICK DOUGLASS WHITE OAK

    Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born to a slave woman and unknown white man in Talbot County, Maryland, in February 1818. At the age of 18, he worked as a ship caulker for a Baltimore shipbuilder. It was at this time that he met his future wife and free person Anna Murray.

    Douglass White Oak

    He left Baltimore in 1838 to gain freedom in the North and married Anna. The pair settled in New Bedford, Mass. and it was here that he adopted the surname of Douglass, taken from Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake. He became prominent in the abolition movement and gave lectures throughout New England and New York.

    In the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation, Douglass issued his “Men of Color, to Arms!” urging free blacks to volunteer for the U.S. Army. In 1877 he broke the “whites only” covenant when he purchased the Cedar Hill house in Washington D.C., often referring to the massive white oak tree that graced his front yard in his diary.

    The Jacksonville arboretum tree grew out of an acorn hand-picked from the Frederick Douglass White Oak in Washington D.C.


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