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Published 07 October 2019

The story of one man’s strength, determination and escape from slavery will be brought to life at a talk to celebrate Black History Month.

Residents are invited to join author Celeste-Marie Bernier, Professor of Black Studies and Personal Chair in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, for a talk on the remarkable life of American activist Fredrick Douglass at Dumbarton Library on Friday, 18 October at 6pm.

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

He was a very influential campaigner for female suffrage and his name is synonymous with an unceasing fight for social justice.

Frederick travelled extensively around Great Britain campaigning against slavery and spent time in Scotland where he took his surname 'Douglass' from James Douglas, the hero of Walter Scott's 'The Lady of the Lake'. 

He  was treated as an equal during his time here and made two extended visits to Scotland travelling extensively throughout the nation between 1846 to 1847 and later in 1859 to 1860, promoting the anti-slavery cause and was appointed as ‘Scotland’s Antislavery agent’.

The talk will also include the history of the African American "struggle for liberty" in Scotland by tracing the transatlantic tours of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Josiah Henson, Sarah Parker Remond.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to watch documentary “Strike for Freedom: Frederick Douglass in Scotland”, directed and produced by Parisa Urquhart.

Councillor Ian Dickson Convener of Corporate Services, said: “This talk and film will give a fascinating glimpse in to the lives of  African Americans and their story of survival and justice.  October is Black History Month in the UK and it's been celebrated nationwide every year for nearly 40 years to recognise the contributions that people of African, Caribbean and Asian  backgrounds have made to this country over many generations.  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 event for Black History Month will remind us of how far we’ve come in treating everyone with respect and dignity regardless of their race.  I’m sure the talk and film will be appreciated by people of all ages.”

Please book your ticket to this free event.