JOINED HANDS IN FREEDOM commemorates the site of The Buttery café on Limerick’s Bedford Row, formerly home to an Episcopalian church, to which three African-American abolitionists travelled to Ireland to speak between 1841 and 1855. Frederick Douglass, Charles Lenox Redmond, and Samuel Ringgold Ward spoke to packed audiences, spreading American anti-slavery and civil rights messages to a poverty-ridden, embattled populace under British rule, during the Potato Famine. The visits were a sensation and the influences lasting, particularly those of Frederick Douglass, who sold out copies of his autobiography,“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”, at every stop of his Irish tour.
Historical background to site (Limerick Leader article)
Never has the site been formally commemorated. With Black History Month taking place across Europe, this presentation of thunderous spoken word, talks, and humorous sociopolitical theatre will mark it in Limerick. Through the variety of speakers and performers, links are drawn between black and Irish struggles. Historic links between the African diaspora and the Irish population will be unearthed, and contextualised among worldwide modern struggles for liberation and civil rights.
Your host is multiple slam poetry champion Clara Rose Thornton: Chicago-born, New-York-simmered, Dublin-dwelling. Presented in collaboration with InkBlot Complex.
Fergus Whelan (Historian)
Performances begin at 10 pm