Frederick Douglass - Planning Page

Frederick Douglass - US National Parks Service
Frederick Douglass - US National Parks Service
Frederick Douglass Mural in Belfast
Frederick Douglass Mural in Belfast

Open Call - Frederick Douglass 'City of Welcomes' Mural

Cork City Council is inviting submissions from artists for a mural in the courtyard of the Unitarian Church on Princes Street that will reflect and promote the positive anti-racist legacy of Frederick Douglass’s visit to Cork in 1845, and the welcome he received from community leaders including Mayor Richard Dowden. The project is part of Cork City Council’s ongoing collaboration with The Globe Lane Initiative (GLI) and its #DouglassWeek project, an annual, transatlantic, creative event series that started in Cork in 2021 and continues to celebrate and advance the legacy and the continuing impact of Frederick Douglass around the world each year. 

The mural should ideally interpret what Douglass’s legacy of anti-discrimination means today and what Cork stands for as a city which welcomes people of all races, abilities, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations, ages, and religions. The proposal should convey a strong commitment to inclusive community involvement and engagement and should meet the strategic priorities of Cork City Creative Ireland Strategy 2023 – 2027, which respect and build on the culture, heritage and values of the city. A collaborative process is encouraged where the artist/s work with the community, particularly communities of colour, migrant and youth groups, to design and execute a mural which represents their values and aspirations. 

Get the full details and find out how to apply at the link below.


Ireland's Ambassador to US Blog

Cork City Library

Great timeline of Frederick Douglass’ life.

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Key Figure of Douglass Visit - Unitarian Perspective

Richard Dowden – Mayor of Cork, Unitarian Church officer. Friend/Associate of  both Theobald Matthew, OFM-Cap (Temperance movement) and of Daniel O’Connell (Catholic Emancipation) and of Frederick Douglass (abolitionist movement).

Note: Rev Matthew eventually fell out of favour with Douglass as Matthew would not support abolition during his later US visit (fearing it would distract from his temperance messaging).

Dowden is at the centre of the intersection of the expanded theme of the Douglass visit which saw congruity across the causes of:

  • Abolition of slavery
  • Catholic Emancipation
  • Temperance

In a letter written from Limerick to Richard Dowden, Mayor of Cork, Douglass thanks Dowden ‘for the many attentions which you pleased to show me during my somewhat protracted stay in the City… Trampled, reviled and maltreated as I have been by white people . . .you may readily imagine the grateful emotions which thrill my heart when Imeet with facts ? forever dispelling the darkness of such infernal doctrines (Dowden U. 140.98). 

Douglass stayed with the Jennings family in Cork. They were a Unitarian family famous on Leeside for their Jennings Soda Water. They lived in a fine dwelling on Brown Street which today sadly no longer stands. In its place is the Paul Street car park! ( JENKINS ‘Beyond the Pale’, Irish Review 24 1999  )

Nice Cork City Library article by Mary Horgan.

Douglass on Religion

I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradleplundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of “stealing the livery of the court of heaven to, serve the devil in…

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Cork Abolitionists Trail (Cork's Earlier Douglass Project)

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Previous Short Cork Frederick Douglass Promo Videos

Music From America - Contemporary to Douglass

For Frederick Douglass, the deep, soul-stirring singing he grew up hearing “was a testimony against slavery and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains….. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conceptions of the dehumanising character of slavery.” (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself)

The US National Parks Service web site has a collection of abolitionist era music…
Farewell Song of Frederick Douglass  Only two copies of the sheet music are known to exist—and one of them was acquired earlier this year by the University of Rochester’s Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation.
The Hutchinson Family Singers were a Quaker abolitionist singing group that accompanied Douglass on his trip. They introduced US musical protest hymnology to Anglo-Irish abolitionist meetings. They are a representation of the abolitionist music of Douglass’ time.

These songs were published in an eight-page pamphlet published in Edinburgh 1846. They were recorded by the traditional singers Gordeanna McCulloch and Bob Blair for a BBC Radio Scotland programme on Douglass in Scotland, called Send Back the Money (11 December 1996).

Illustrated songs were pervasive in the print culture of the nineteenth century: it is estimated that between 80,000 and 100,000 pictorial music titles were published in England between 1820 and 1885 alone. The Fugitive’s Song was published in 1845, the same year as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. The sheet music prominently depicted a representation of Douglass on its cover. The song was also sang at Douglass’ own funeral.