20 February-Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was an escaped African-American slave. He escaped from slavery in the state of Maryland on September 3rd 1838. Following his escape Douglass became a leader of the abolitionist movement in America.  He travelled first to New York and later settled in Massachusetts. In the years following his escape he travelled the northern states to speak at rallies demanding the abolition of slavery.

In 1845 Douglass visited Ireland, where he met Daniel O Connell. He gave lectures, which were very popular, in several locations across Ireland. In a letter to the abolitionist William Garrison, Douglass wrote: I have travelled almost from the hill of Howth to the Giant’s Causeway and from the Giant’s Causeway to Cape Clear. Plaques in Waterford and Cork commemorate visits by Douglass to those cities.

During his travels Douglass spoke at meetings in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast, Wexford and Waterford. He described the great sense of freedom which he felt while visiting Ireland. “I am covered with the soft, grey fog of the Emerald Isle. I breathe, and lo! The chattel becomes a man. I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult”.

Frederick Douglass, who was an escaped African-American slave, died in Washington DC in the year 1895 On This Day.




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