Wednesday, September 13, 1865.
not well to day busy to day the festival comes off for the children vincent down about 7 o quite a number of children and adults were thy all seemed to enj
oy [enjoy] them selves very much i did not go out untill evening Julia and i went to hear blind Tom i was much Pleased with the preformance excepting we had to sit up stairs wich made me furious
another warm day. Poor Frank Duglass died this morning or 12 o last night i went to meeting cant say it did me much good as i went
“Blind Tom,” or Thomas Wiggins, was a former slave who toured concert halls performing musical numbers he learned from memory. After emancipation, Tom continued to travel with his master, who controlled all the proceeds from Tom’s popular shows. A complicated figure, Tom inspired awe with his talent–performing two different songs on different pianos, while singing a third song–but he nonetheless frustrated critics for his deep loyalty to his former master. “The prejudice against blacks extends to every class,” an 1860 article about Philadelphia in Douglass’ Monthly explained, “and may be remarked in pleasure and in business. At theatres and concerts, lectures and churches, the negro is restricted to a remote gallery.” Emilie’s complaint serves as a reminder that racism and segregation in the city remained unchanged by the war. Emilie and Julia were unprepared to be asked to sit in a separate section of the Concert Hall, located on the corner of Chestnut and Twelfth Streets, where Emilie had attended lectures by Frederick Douglass and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Susanna Capeluto, “The Tale of ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins,” NPR, March 6, 2002, http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/mar/blindtom/index.htm; Ballou, Autobiography, 452-3; “Concert Hall. Tom. The Blind Negro Boy Pianist,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 11, 1865; www.librarycompany.org/mcallister/pdf/playbills.pdf; “The Colored People of Philadelphia,” Douglass’ Monthly, October 1860.
According to her death certificate, Frances Douglass died on September 15, 1865 of phthisis pulmonalis, another name for tuberculosis. Emilie and her cohorts might have shortened Frances to “Frank,” and at 18 years old, Frances was likely a contemporary of Emilie’s. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JK78-G51 : accessed 09 May 2013), Frances Douglass, 1865.