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Published 20 May 2019

The story of one family’s strength, determination and escape from slavery will be brought to life at a talk to celebrate the remarkable life of American activist Fredrick Douglass.

Residents are invited to join authors Celeste-Marie Bernier and Andrew Taylor, of If I Survive: Frederick Douglass and Family in the Walter O. Evans Collection at Dumbarton Library on Tuesday, 4 June at 7.00 pm.

Frederick Douglass was one of the great figures of the abolitionist movement and after escaping from slavery became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York.  He is known for his powerful oratory and writings.  

Fredrick’s 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, became a bestseller, and he was very influential in promoting the cause of abolition through his beliefs of equality of all people.  A campaigner  for female suffrage, his name is synonymous with an unceasing fight for social justice.

Fredrick took inspiration from activist campaigns, in particular those led by his five children who all worked tirelessly for social justice over the last 150 years and have inspired many of today’s activists.

Marking 200 years since the birth of Frederick Douglass, If I Survive is a collection of previously unpublished essays, speeches, autobiographies and letters written by the women and men in the Douglass family. All of life can be found within these pages: romance, hope, despair, love, life, death, war, protest, politics, art and friendship.

Councillor Ian Dickson Convener of Corporate Services, said: “This talk will be a fascinating glimpse in to the life of the Douglass family and their heroic story of survival and justice.  The authors have compiled a captivating book which gives us a clear insight in to the lives of this family and their fight for what’s right.  I’m sure this will be a very popular event and I would encourage anyone wanting to attend to book their space now to avoid disappointment.”

Councillor Iain McLaren, Vice Convener of Corporate Services, said: “This historic family’s views and values are as important today as they were 150 years ago and I’m sure the talk will be appreciated by people of all ages.  Thanks to the collection by Walter O. Evans we can see original documents and transcripts from the Douglass family.”

The event at Dumbarton library will be led by Celeste-Marie Bernier, Professor of Black Studies and Personal Chair in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh and Andrew Taylor a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh.

Please visit https://frederickdouglasswdl.eventbrite.co.uk  to book you ticket for this free event.