"DEAR ONES," wrote Helen Douglass on October 12, 1889, "with trunk closed and bonnet ready, I, while waiting must give a little account of ourselves since leaving the good ship Kearsarge." Frederick Douglass, the new minister to Haiti, and his wife had arrived on the famous Civil War battleship; once again, maddeningly to the others, Douglass alone of the party was not seasick. In calm water two miles offshore at Port-au‐ Prince, having taken "very pleasant leave of the officers," the Douglasses stepped down into a steam launch and "puffed" their way into the harbor.
"One of our first sights," continued Helen, "was a little fellow with a tray of molasses cake, or what looked like it, upon his head and one short garment on. He lifted the front of this to wipe his face, and the natural man was revealed. We all started to walk a little way to the carriages and there stood another brave youth describing a vigorous curve into the adjoining water, very composedly looking around at us the while." It was Columbus Day, and the Douglasses of Cedar Hill were discovering a new America.
The runaway slave from North America was now the minister to the black republic that Toussaint L'Ouverture had wrested from slaveholders close to a century before. In 1888, yet another Republican for whom Douglass had campaigned had been elected president; again it was time to hope for an appointment. In the winter of 1889, before Benjamin Harrison's inaugural, Douglass visited Arkansas for the first time, staying in the homes of several of the state's leading black citizens. Asked what position was likely to be given to a black man, he answered—saying the opposite of what he thought—that it would be presumptuous for a black