The Radical Friendship of Frederick Douglass & John W. Mitchell, Jr.

The Radical Friendship of Frederick Douglass & John W. Mitchell, Jr.

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School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

3434 Washington Boulevard

Arlington, VA 22201

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Learn about the radical friendship of Frederick Douglass and John W. Mitchell, Jr. of the Richmond Planet at the world debut presentation.

About this event

Paramount to the study and discussion of the history of American Journalism, and the pantheon of the Black Press, are the careers and contributions of Frederick Douglass and John W. Mitchell, Jr. of the Richmond Planet.

Learn about their radical friendship and mutual associations at a world debut presentation chronicling their relationship across generations and geography.

In the late 1870s Douglass first met Mitchell, nearly a half-century his junior, and took an active role mentoring and supporting his emerging career within reformist and political networks within Washington City and Richmond, Virginia.

During the early development of the first national organization for African-American journalists and editors, Douglass and Mitchell worked side by side, along other prominent journalists William Calvin Chase, T. Thomas Fortune, John W. Cromwell, Ferdinand Barnett, Ida Bell Wells and others.

Learn about the collective and shared activist efforts of Douglass and Mitchell across journalism, local and national politics, Civil Rights and anti-lynching campaigns.


Dr. Charles L. Chavis, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and History and Director of the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race, at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. Before joining the S-CAR, he served as the Museum Coordinator for the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Chavis is a historian and museum educator whose work focuses on the history of racial violence and civil rights activism and Black and Jewish relations in the American South, and the ways in which the historical understandings of racial violence and civil rights activism can inform current and future approaches to peacebuilding and conflict resolution throughout the world. His areas of specialization includes Civil Rights oral history, historical consciousness, and racial violence and reconciliation. He has received over twenty-five grants, awards and fellowships from organizations including, the Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education, Knapp Family Foundation, American Jewish Archives, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and the American Historical Association.

His current project, (In) Visible Stories: Salvaging Untold Histories of Marginalized Communities, is an intergenerational oral history curriculum project focusing on the personal meaning that is found within marginalized communities. The first phase of this project focuses on Baltimore, Maryland focusing on the intersections of history, memory, and identity in the life of Baltimore youth.

Professor Chavis has published more than twenty-five refereed articles, reference articles, essays, reviews, op-editorials, chapters and government reports and is author of the upcoming book, “‘Maryland, My Maryland’: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Racism in the Free State” and editor of For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).


John Muller, author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia and Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent, has presented widely locally throughout the DC-Baltimore metropolitan area at venues including the Library of Congress, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Newseum, American Library in Paris, Enoch Pratt Library, DC Public Library, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and local universities, as well as internationally at the American Library in Paris.

Muller has been featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV and C-SPAN’s American History TV, as well as in the pages of the Washington Post, airwaves of NBC4 (Washington) and radio stations WPFW (DC), WAMU (DC), WYPR (Baltimore) and Delmarva Public Radio (Eastern Shore).

In February 2020 Muller presented, "The Radical Friendship of T. Thomas Fortune and Frederick Douglass," at the T. Thomas Fortune House and Cultural Center in Red Bank, New Jersey to a full house.

For the past decade Muller has contributed hundreds of articles to local and national print and online news sources, including the Washington Informer. He is currently working on a book about the lost history of Frederick Douglass on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

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