Sunday, March 20, 2011

Frederick Douglass Fled from Slavery to Ireland

[Obama began with a telling history lesson.

He described the voyage of the great African American leader Frederick Douglass to Ireland where he went to escape the slave catchers in 1845.

Douglass became heavily influenced by Daniel O'Connell, the 'Liberator' who led Irish Catholics to emancipation and detested slavery. O'Connell's embrace of non violence deeply impacted Douglass as Obama pointed out.

He talked about the upcoming visit to Ireland and what it would mean to him. Arguably He will be the first truly significant black figure since Douglass to visit Ireland.

The linkage between black and Irish was also on the mind of Enda Kenny.

In a soaring speech, among the finest I have heard by any Irish politician, he compared the slave trade in West Africa that brought millions in chains to America to the flight from death and starvation of the Irish who came on the coffin ships.  

"Together we built America" he said.]  emphasis added

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