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St. John Fisher College to Host “Frederick Douglass in Ireland” Conference February 22


St. John Fisher College to Host “Frederick Douglass in Ireland” Conference February 22

St. John Fisher College will host its 2nd annual Irish Studies Program Conference during Black History Month to celebrate and honor the legacy of Rochester’s own Frederick Douglass. The free event takes place on Friday, February 22, and is open to the public.

The conference, “Frederick Douglass in Ireland: The Irish Influence on America’s Greatest Abolitionist and Its Continuing Relevance,” will include a full day of sessions focused on Douglass’ legacy and role as a human rights advocate in the 1800s. Sessions will also focus on his relevance in today’s race issues.

"The purpose of this event is to encourage the public to understand the importance that Douglass’ time in Ireland had on his development as a human rights advocate, and to examine, through discussions with leading Douglass experts, what lessons can be learned from this and how to apply these findings to present-day civil rights issues," said Dr. Timothy Madigan, Director, Irish Studies Program and Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. John Fisher College.

Over 150 are expected at the conference, including students from the Frederick Douglass Club at School 12, which sits on the site of Douglass’ former home in the city of Rochester.

In addition, the Conference will feature a Douglass impersonator, who will interact with attendees during the day’s events.

All sessions will take place in the Golisano Gateway Midlevel. The conference schedule includes:

Welcome/Refreshments: 8:30-8:55 a.m.

“The Young Frederick Douglass: From Slavery to Freedom” - 9:05-10:00 a.m.

Dr. Richard DeJesús-Rueff, Vice President for Student Affairs and Diversity Initiatives, St. John Fisher College; Yantee Slobert, Director of Multicultural Affairs, St. John Fisher College; Dr. Timothy Madigan, Director, Irish Studies Program and Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. John Fisher College

“Douglass, Ireland, and the Great Famine” - 10:10-11:05 a.m.

Ann Coughlan, Ph.D. Candidate in English, University College, Cork, Ireland; Dr. Patricia Ferreira, Professor of English, Norwich University

“Douglass and Rochester” - 11:15 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Dr. Carolyn Vacca, Associate Professor of History, St. John Fisher College, and Monroe County Historian; Melissa Jadlos, Director, Lavery Library, St. John Fisher College

Lunch Break: 12:10-1:25 p.m.

“The Civil War, Draft Riots, and Women’s Suffrage” - 1:25-2:20 p.m.

Dr. David Baronov, Professor and Chair of Sociology, St. John Fisher College; Dr. Leigh Fought, Assistant Professor of History, Le Moyne College

“Douglass and Ireland: Lessons to be Learned” - 2:30-3:25 p.m.

Excerpts from Douglass’ speeches will be recited by students from School No. 12’s Frederick Douglass Club. David Anderson, Community Scholar in Residence at Nazareth College and Douglass impersonator, will interact with the audience.

“The Continuing Relevance of Douglass and Ireland” - 3:35-4:30 p.m.

An open discussion with presenters and attendees.

Break: 4:30-5:00 p.m.

“Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” - Film - 5:00-6:00 p.m.

A showing of the 2008 Irish documentary film, which follows Douglass’ life from slavery as a young man through to his time in Ireland where he befriended Daniel O’Connell, and toured the country spreading the message of abolition. The film examines the turbulent relationships between African Americans and Irish Americans during the Civil War, what drew them together, what drove them apart, and how this would shape the American of the 20th century and beyond.

The conference is sponsored by St. John Fisher College and the New York Council for Humanities.

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