Status: Complete


said: “I never expected to see a man of my own color and race reporting for
a great paper like THE WORLD.”


Washington Post, I 1 August 1891. Another text in Miscellany File, reel 34, frame 515, FD
Papers, DLC.

Douglass submitted his resignation as U.S. resident minister and consul
general to Haiti on 30 July 1891 and President Benjamin Harrison formally
accepted it on 11 August 1891. The press had been anticipating Douglass’s
replacement as U.S. minister in Haiti as a result of the failure of the negotia-
tions for the acquisition of the Môle St. Nicolas. Douglass granted several
interviews to reporters seeking information about the circumstances of his
resignation. The most detailed of these occurred at his home in Washington,
D.C., on 10 August 1891, when Douglass answered questions from an uni-
dentified reporter from the Washington Post. The published text of this inter-
view displeased Douglass who immediately wrote a letter to the Post to deny
making the statement that he had been asked to resign. In the letter Douglass
observed that: “It is not surprising that in the hurry of an interview, a reporter
should sometimes fail to get the exact truth into his report.” Douglass’s letter
is reproduced in Appendix H. William F. Wharton to Douglass, 11 August
1891, General Correspondence File, reel 6, frame 190, FD Papers, DLC;
Douglass to Editor of the Washington Post, 11 August 1891, in Washington
Post, 12 August 1891; Washington Evening Star, 10, 11 August 1891', New
York World, 10, 12 August 1891.

Frederick Douglass is no longer minister to Haiti. His resignation, submit-
ted to the President on July 30, was yesterday made public by the State
Department. It is a formal note and gives no reasons for retirement. Its
acceptance follows as a matter of course.

In the course of a conversation with a POST reporter yesterday after-
noon at his residence beyond Anacostia, Mr. Douglass intimated that he
had been asked to resign and that his successor would be a white man.1 He

1. John Stephens Durham (1861—1919), another black diplomat, succeeded Douglass as minis-
ter resident and consul general to Haiti. Born in Philadelphia, Durham graduated from that city‘s well-
known Institute for Colored Youth in 1876. After teaching elementary school for a number of years, he
attended the University of Pennsylvania and received a civil engineering degree in 1888. Instead of
working as an engineer, Durham became a successful journalist in Philadelphia. Local Republican

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