Nantucket launched Frederick Douglass’s career as an abolitionist; Ireland transformed him into an international champion of human rights. This lecture explores the time Douglass spent in Ireland in 1845-1846 and the impact that the country had on his personal and political development. A highlight of his stay was meeting his hero, the Irish nationalist and abolitionist, Daniel O’Connell. It was while speaking in front of O’Connell that Douglass made an impassioned plea for his enslaved people to find their own “Black O’Connell.” Throughout his life, Douglass would playfully refer to himself in this way.
Christine Kinealy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she completed her doctorate on the introduction of the Poor Law to Ireland. She then worked in educational and research institutes in Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool. She has published extensively on the impact of the Great Irish Famine and has lectured on the relationship between poverty and famine in India, Spain, Canada, France, Finland and New Zealand. She also has spoken to invited audiences in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress. Based in the United States since 2007, she was named one of the most influential Irish Americans in 2011 by “Irish America” Magazine. In 2013, she received the Holyoke, Mass. St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s Ambassador Award. In March 2014, she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.