Abolitionist Douglass walking stick added to SC museum


In this photo provided by the Library of Congress, abolitionist Frederick Douglass is facing right, seated for a head-and-shoulders portrait at an unknown location. The specific date is unknown, but likely circa 1850-1860. (Library of Congress via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina State Museum is now home to a walking stick given to abolitionist Frederick Douglass when he visited Charleston in 1888.

Douglass escaped slavery before the Civil War and spent his life trying to abolish slavery. After the Civil War, he made speeches reminding people to never forget the horror of keeping people in bondage.

One of those speaking tours came in 1888 in Georgia and South Carolina.

At Douglass’ stop in Charleston in March, he was honored by an African American militia unit calling themselves the Douglass Light Infantry, the majority of whom were former slaves, the museum said in a statement.

They gave Douglass the walking stick with a gold cap, personally engraved for Douglass and decorated with engraved strawberries, which symbolized righteousness and spiritual merit.

The walking stick will be added to the historical artifacts at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia.

The walking stick is a one of a kind item and will help the museum tell South Carolina’s history for years to come, said JoAnn Zeise, the cultural history curator for the museum.

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