Spirit Of Freedom


This morning.

Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin.

Historian Cecelia Hartsell (above left) and Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland at the unveiling of a plaque commemorating American anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass.

Dublin City Council mounted the plaque to honor Douglass’s 1845 visit to Eustace Street.

On leaving Dublin, he said:

“I can truly say, I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in this country. I seem to have undergone a transformation. I live a new life. The warm and generous co-operation extended to me by the friends of my despised race—the prompt and liberal manner with which the press has rendered me its aid—the glorious enthusiasm with which thousands have flocked to hear the cruel wrongs of my down-trodden and long-enslaved fellow-countrymen portrayed…

“…The deep sympathy for the slave, and the strong abhorrence of the slaveholder, everywhere evinced—the cordiality with which members and ministers of various religious bodies, and of various shades of religious opinion, have embraced me, and lent me their aid—the kind hospitality constantly proffered to me by persons of the highest rank in society—the spirit of freedom that seems to animate all with whom I come in contact.

“…And the entire absence of everything that looked like prejudice against me, on account of the color of my skin—contrasted so strongly with my long and bitter experience in the United States, that I look with wonder and amazement on the transition.”

In fairness.

Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews

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13 thoughts on “Spirit Of Freedom

  1. Junkface

    Really nice gesture and important historical event. They should make a movie about Frederick Douglass. He seems like a very interesting character for those times.

  2. Free Lunch

    A lad visits Eustace Street (for what) once and he gets a plaque. Money plenty.

    Amy Winehouse visited Rory’s in Temple Bar. That’s of more touristy value. Where’s the plaque?

      1. Nigel

        For feck’s sake, you just can’t help yourselves, can you?

        Lots of Irish people in the slave trade, lots of Irish slave owners in the US and Haiti, lots of Irish opposed abolition, but Daniel O’Connell was an avowed abolitionist, you lame snarky edgelords.

        1. Junkface

          This has been discussed before. You cannot include Irish citizens or military men of having an equal blame in the slave trade of the 16th and 18th Century. Ireland was a colony of the the British Empire, without the empires trading framework, Irish people had no way of operating in that trading system. History should be discussed accurately and logically. Not framed within todays standards,

          Also if you are going to pass around blame for involvement in the slave trade, then you have to include the African kings who sold the slaves to the British, Spanish and Portuguese traders. Who do you think gathered up the slaves from the African interior and readied them in the ports along the coast of Ghana, Angola and Benin? History is full of grey areas and the modern simplifications that people throw around show ignorance of history. Its important to understand all angles.

          1. Chris

            Nigel’s wokeism negates the need for facts. I believe facts may infact be rascist if they go against his cult’s doctrine.

          2. Nigel

            Nobody said nothing about ‘equal blame’ Chris asked an, I’m sure, honest and good faith question I gave a brief answer, if you want an exhaustive history of the entire slave trade out of some sense of fairness to people who bought and sold slaves, well knock yourself out, but don’t act like I didn’t answer the question.

          3. Nigel

            As an answer to the question of Irish involvement in slavery it lacked detail, yes, but your disquisition answered a different question entirely and was presumably prompted by some sort of hair-trigger neurosis about the sheer injustice of white people being blamed for slavery that has to be addressed whenever slavery is discussed no matter what the context.

            Anyway the spirit of the commemoration was the warmth of his welcome in Ireland as described by the man himself, not any sort of condemnation of Irish involvement in slavery, and that certainly deserves to be remembered and celebrated.

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