The Frederick Douglass Foundation
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
- We Believe in the Sanctity of Human Life and the Protection of Traditional Marriage
Does anyone else think there's something wrong here?
First they quote Douglass:
"where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them"Then they offer their values which include:
"Protection of Traditional Marriage"Isn't "protecting traditional marriage" (by preventing same sex marriage) a form of "organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade" gays?
But it's not over yet.
"The Largest Christ-Centered, Multi-Ethnic and Republican Ministry in America"
Founded by Timothy Johnson, Dean Nelson and Troy Rollings, The Frederick Douglass Foundation is a national Christ-centered education and public policy organization with local chapters across the United States which brings the sanctity of free market and limited government ideas to bear on the hardest problems facing our nation. We are a collection of pro-active individuals committed to developing innovative and new approaches to today's problems with the assistance of elected officials, scholars from universities and colleges and community activist.
"[S]anctity of the free market" was the term that caught my attention here. And, of course, above, "Republican Ministry." Do these guys have any idea how similar this is to radical Muslims calling for Sharia law?
Not only is this organization appropriating* Frederick Douglass' name and legacy, they are also appropriating the Bible.
[NOTE: I'm not linking to their website. I don't want to help them out with links. But if you want to go there, you can figure out how to google it.]
The Home Page (but none of the others) does have a disclaimer saying they are not associated with the Frederick Douglass Family Association and links to that organization whose president is the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass. I tried to contact them to determine how the disclaimer and the link got up, but have not had any responses to my email and phone call yet.
There is a blog about Abolitionist John Brown, by Brown biographer Louis A. DeCarlo Jr.. One post there is about how the Frederick Douglass Foundation appropriates* Douglass' name and legacy and twists the truth to support the agenda to recruit black Republicans. It includes a description of the blogger's conversation with Kenneth B.Morris, a descendent of Frederick Douglass and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, a modern anti-slavery organization. NOTE: The word family here.
"Among the many points of interesting conversation, Kenneth mentioned his family’s frustration at the appropriation of Frederick Douglass’ name by this new generation of black political conservatives. The Douglass family descendants are particularly disappointed that one group of black conservatives have actually named themselves "The Frederick Douglass Foundation," although their political philosophy is not consistent with the Douglass family’s understanding of the Douglass legacy. While the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation is primarily devoted to opposing all modern forms of slavery going on in the U.S. and worldwide, it is not organizationally indifferent to the historical and political aspects of the Douglass legacy and they do not agree with or support the appropriation of their great forefather’s name by short-sighted, self-interested conservatives, whether black or white.
Before we parted, Kenneth encouraged me to devote some attention to this problem, at least in pointing out the historical inaccuracies underlying the contemporary “Frederick Douglass Republican” rationale. In so doing, I hope this is a salutary contribution in honor of one of the greatest liberators and leaders of the modern era. Of course it goes without saying that in this John Brown blog, there will always be room for anything, great or small, pertaining to Frederick Douglass."You can see that post - exposing the inaccuracies - here.
My guess, though, is that actually it was put together by white Republicans who then recruited Black Republicans because, well, white guys couldn't be doing this. More on this further down.
Charity Navigator didn't have anything listed for either of these groups.
Guidestar, another website that evaluates non-profits, says that the Frederick Douglass Foundation, registered in Montana, lost its tax exempt status:
"This organization's exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence is warranted."Here's their page on the organization.
Actually, there is one in Washington DC too, which has a little more information. It says the organization was founded in 1988.
|Screen shot from Guidestar on Frederic Douglass Foundation**|
The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation has a more positive review on Guidestar.
Essentially, from what I can tell, the Frederick Douglass Foundation is a Republican website being used to recruit African-Americans. It purports to stand for the ideals of Frederick Douglass, but it seems like they are taking the name and then using it in ways that suit them, but do not accurately reflect who Frederick Douglass was and what he stood for.
But I did look up the leaders listed on their website: Timothy Johnson, Dean Nelson and Troy Rollings. The Alternet has a long article on Timothy Johnson, vice president of the North Carolina Republican Party.
It seems that his nomination in 2009 to the NC GOP party leadership didn't sit well with some members and a local television station reported that Johnson had been convicted in 1996 of a felony domestic violence change. Alternet reports another domestic violence conviction and questions about the dates of his military service and the authenticity of his Phd. They say it came from a diploma mill that had no teachers. Just secretaries who handled the money and the diplomas.
In a rather amazing YouTube video posted with that Alternet piece, Johnson meets with two NCGOP party folks to prove to them the facts of his military service. It says in the article that it was made and posted by Johnson's friend. The YouTube description says it shows him proving his military record.
And was the person who posted this really Johnson's friend? It shows a very irritated Johnson who is clearly annoyed at these white men questioning his documents and asking why no one else has ever had his military service questioned.
One could argue, had he allowed anyone else a chance to say anything, they could have told him that he's being asked because someone has challenged his record. But it's also easy to understand a black man's anger here. And you can see here also the man who was convicted of domestic violence. This is one of the burdens of racism in the US. He's served in the military, he's embraced Christ, he's embraced the Republican Party, but he can see that he's still just a black man.
I'm willing to accept the notion that racism might have been behind the challenge to Johnson's credentials. But there may also be something legitimate. (And probably there are whites with questionable credentials that aren't challenged.)
I'm all for letting people serve their time (it said he "served 18 months probation") and letting people grow and develop. I also know it is easier for blacks to be convicted than whites. But I also believe in trust and verify. And while I understand the pressure that some people might feel to get their resumes in order, there's enough here to make one wonder.
A PhD would be a nice thing for the president of an educational foundation that
"is committed to developing innovative and new approaches to today's problems with the assistance of elected officials, scholars from universities and colleges and community activist."But not having a PhD would probably be better than having one from a diploma mill that was shut down by the feds.
In 2011, when the NCGOP chairman resigned, Tim Johnson was defeated in his bid to be Chair by ex-Rep. Robin Hayes.
I haven't had time to research the other two founders. I'll try to add something on them too, but no promises. There are so many things to post about.
*I've posted on cultural appropriation before and it's a topic I want to do more research on. Basically, it's about stealing cultural images, ideas, identity - ranging from taking actual cultural items (such as the issue of museums taking archeological findings from the country of origin) to taking names and using them for one's own purpose - which seems to be the case here.
**Guidestar requires you register to get more information about an organization such as their IRS 990s. But registration requires that you agree not to post information on the internet. So I did not agree and I did not register. What I have posted from Guidestar comes from the parts of their website that do not require registration.