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St. John Fisher College Receives Grant from New York Council for the Humanities


St. John Fisher College has received a $7,967.00 grant from the New York Council for the Humanities to support the “Frederick Douglass in Ireland” conference in 2013.

The conference, “Frederick Douglass in Ireland: The Irish Influence on America’s Greatest Abolitionist and Its Continuing Relevance,” will focus on Douglass’ time in Ireland and how it impacted his development as a human rights advocate. It will take place February 22, 2013, at the College, and will be free and open to the public.

Douglass, one of Rochester’s most important figures from the abolitionist movement, spent a year in Ireland after being invited by leaders of the worldwide abolitionist movement, and was inspired while there to devote the rest of his life to the cause of human emancipation and the abolition of slavery. The interactive conference will spread more awareness to attendees about Douglass’ life and legacy. In addition, students from James P.B. Duffy School No.12 in Rochester will engage in a speech competition, reciting speeches Douglass gave during his time in Ireland. The conference will also feature a noted Douglass impersonator who will interact with the attendees.

Additionally, the College’s Lavery Library is home to an extensive collection of original copies of Douglass’ “North Star” and other abolitionist newspapers he published while living in Rochester, and the collection will be on display during the conference.

Members of Fisher’s faculty are working with faculty from Nazareth College and LeMoyne College, and even as far as University College in Ireland, to bring the conference to campus. Dr. Tim Madigan, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Irish Studies Program Director; Dr. Carolyn Vacca, Associate Professor of History and Monroe County Historian; and Dr. David Baranov, Professor of Sociology, are involved with the conference planning. Each will also lead a discussion during the day-long event.

The New York Council for the Humanities awarded over $82,000.00 in its first round of Directors’ Project Grants to nine organizations, including Fisher, to support programs that use dialogue as an integral way to engage the public and further the Council’s mission to help all New Yorkers become participants in their communities.

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