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CBMM’s May 5 Frederick Douglass Day activities announced

The Frederick Douglass Honor Society (FDHS) and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) are partnering once again to present Frederick Douglass Day from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at the museum’s waterfront campus in St. Michaels, MD.

Attendees to Frederick Douglass Day enjoy a variety of boatbuilding demonstrations. Shipbuilding techniques, used by Frederick Douglass in his earlier days, will be demonstrated at the May 5 event, which will be held along the waterfront campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD.

“Learning from the past, educating for the future” is the theme for this year’s event, which features exhibits about Douglass’ life and work, genealogy workshops, cooking demonstrations, dance, live music, regional foods, and activities for children to learn about the cultural diversities established in the Bay region’s early heritage. Shipbuilding techniques used by Douglass will also be demonstrated at the boatshop.

The first Frederick Douglass Day was held at the museum in October 2010, and was established to celebrate the life of Talbot County native Frederick Douglass. Born a slave in Talbot County, MD, Fred Bailey would escape his chains in 1838 and become Frederick Douglass, one of the most notable men of the nineteenth century and the ideal of an American self-made man. At one time, Douglass worked the Chesapeake Bay waterfront as a caulker—a job CBMM shipwrights still do in maintaining the museum’s fleet of historic, Chesapeake boats.

New to this year’s event is a live performance beginning at 3pm by the Motown, R&B, soul, jazz and blues band, the XPDs. Also new this year is a cooking demonstration by culinary historian, community scholar and living history interpreter Michael Twitty, who will present historic African American food and folk culture. Twitty will be holding open-fire cooking demonstrations at the museum’s historic Mitchell House, which belonged to Douglass’ sister Eliza Bailey before being relocated to CBMM from the St. Michaels area several years back. Twitty involves his audience in discussions about heirloom crops and seeds, wild food, foraging methods, and the cooking techniques that create a uniquely African American cultural tradition.

Winners of the Frederick Douglass essay contest, which was opened to all private and public school 8th grade Talbot County students, will also be announced. Contest winners will present their entries at the event and receive gifts and prizes from the museum and local organizations.

A variety of local foods will also be available and include barbeque chicken from the Union United Methodist Church in St. Michaels, as well as offerings from Darnell’s Grill, The Milestone, Sam’s Pizza, and Scottish Highland Creamery. In addition to dance, music, and demonstrations, families will have the opportunity to see history come alive by interacting with a young Frederick Douglass interpreter, creating their own copy of Douglass’ North Star newspaper, and trying out the clothes and tools of a 19th century free black sailor in a vintage photo booth activity.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Frederick Douglass Endowed Scholarship Fund. Admission includes access to all CBMM exhibits, including the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, and is $10 for adults, and free for kids under 16 and museum members.

For more information, call the museum at 410-745-2916 or visit

Event sponsorships are available by contacting Frederick Douglass Day Co-Chair Karen Shook at 410-745-3307 or at [email protected].

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