Frederick Douglass is well known for his 1845 autobiography which described his life as a slave in Maryland and his escape to freedom in the North. The book, which bluntly recounted the abuse that he and other slaves endured at the hands of their masters, became a bestseller in the 1850s and is thought by many historians to have contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War.
While first and foremost an abolitionist and promoter of black equality, Douglass was also a defender of other peoples that he thought were oppressed. He was especially outspoken on behalf of the Irish, convinced that they and African Americans had much in common. He visited Ireland twice, met with the “Liberator,” Daniel O’Connell, and gave lectures on behalf of the Irish cause. Professor Quinn will discuss Douglass’ travels to Ireland, his relationship with Daniel O’Connell and his support for Irish political freedom.
JOHN F. QUINN received his Ph.D. in history from Notre Dame. He has been professor of history with Salve Regina University since 1992 and is History Department Chair. A prolific writer, Dr. Quinn is the author of numerous articles, as well as the book Father Mathew’s Crusade: Temperance in Nineteenth Century Ireland and Irish-America (U. of Mass. Press, 2002). His interests include Irish America, Modern Ireland, and American Religion and Ethnicity. He is an expert on Irish and Irish-American attitudes towards slavery in the 19th Century. Dr. Quinn’s professional memberships include American Catholic Historical Association, American Conference on Irish Studies, Irish American Cultural Institute, and Society of Catholic Social Scientists. This is Dr. Quinn’s sixth speaking engagement with the Museum.