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Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race$
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Bruce Nelson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153124

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153124.001.0001

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“The Black O’Connell of the United States”

“The Black O’Connell of the United States”

Frederick Douglass and Ireland

Chapter:
(p.86) Chapter Four “The Black O’Connell of the United States”
Source:
Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race
Author(s):

Bruce Nelson

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691153124.003.0005

This chapter focuses on Frederick Douglass, one of the great antislavery voices of the nineteenth century. Douglass was born a slave, and he came to Ireland as a fugitive from American slave catchers. Ironically, he arrived on the eve of the Great Famine and was deeply disturbed by the poverty and suffering he encountered there, even before famine-related starvation and mortality became apparent. But for the most part Douglass experienced Ireland as a place where his spirit soared, where his sense of dignity was markedly enhanced, where he could be free. The chapter examines Ireland through Douglass's eyes in an attempt to understand why and how he failed to come to terms with some of the fundamental realities of Irish society. Douglass was unable to combine a strong sense of nationality with opposition to slavery and other forms of oppression.

Keywords:   slavery, abolition, Irish nationalism, Ireland, slaves, nationality, oppression, antislavery, Frederick Douglass

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