Douglass, Frederick – Anti-Slavery Leader

This plaque commemorates Frederick Douglass, the anti-slavery leader, who visited Dublin in 1845, at the IFI on Eustace Street, Dublin 2.

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Born into slavery in 1818, Frederick Douglass escaped and in 1845 published his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. The book’s popularity in Europe, and fear of being captured and returned to slavery, led Douglass to visit Ireland and the UK in 1845/47.

Douglass returned to the USA a free man in 1847, and went on to become a leading abolitionist, a newspaper proprietor, and a government official. Renowned as an orator, through his writings, speeches, and photographs, he boldly challenged the racial stereotypes of African Americans. He was the most photographed man in 19th century America.

While in Ireland Frederick Douglass met Daniel O’Connell, a firm opponent of slavery, and the two men spoke at O’Connell’s Conciliation Hall, on Burgh Quay.

Douglass was a guest of Dublin’s Quaker Community, and in September 1845 he spoke at the old Friends’ Meeting House in Eustace Street, now the Irish Film Institute.

The plaque was unveiled on Thursday 21st October 2021, by Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland.