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Unsilencing Black Voices/DouglassWeek written collaboration – Call for Contributions

#DouglassWeek, which will take place from 8th – 14th of February 2021, will be an all-island collaborative event series that celebrates Frederick Douglass’s visit to Ireland in 1845-1846. During Douglass’s visit to Ireland, he lectured to packed audiences, met with Daniel O’Connell (a major inspiration for his activism against slavery), and reflected upon the devastating effects of the famine then beginning to sweep the country. 

Unsilencing Black Voices is inviting short written submissions that reflect on Douglass’s time in Ireland and draw connections and comparisons with contemporary Irish life. Contributors are invited to respond to the prompt below (an extract from when Frederick Douglass visited Ireland in 1845-1846): 

“I breath, and lo! The chattel becomes a man.  I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult. I employ a cab—I am seated beside white people—I reach the hotel—I enter the same door—I am shown into the same parlour—I dine at the same table—and no one is offended … I find myself regarded and treated at every turn with the kindness and deference paid to white people” (253).1 

Responses may include but are not limited to:  

  1. What emotions were evoked after reading this piece 
  1. A comparative outlook of the Black experience in the past (Douglass’s visit) to the present timeframe  
  1. The meaning of freedom 
  1. The power of narrative, especially from silenced voices 

Please submit 500-1000 words no later than the 31st of January, 2021. Submissions to be sent to unsilencingblackvoices@gmail.com  

Entries will be considered for inclusion as guest posts on the official DouglassWeek website, to be published and promoted throughout the week as part of the programme’s reflection on issues of equality, race, migration and cultural encounters.  

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