FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 19, 2012
CONTACT: JOANN DONNELLAN
REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS/DANIEL O’CONNELL PROJECT TO ATTEND WHITE HOUSE ST. PATRICK’S DAY CELEBRATION
Washington, DC –Representatives from the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation and the Frederick Douglass/Daniel O’Connell Project will attend this year’s White House St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the invitation of President and Mrs. Obama to honor the friendship between the U.S. and Ireland and the special relationship between American social reformer Frederick Douglass and Irish abolitionist Daniel O’Connell. O’Connell helped to shape Douglass’s views on abolition – therefore helping to shape the future of millions of Americans enslaved prior to the Civil War. The organizations are working together to help inspire people in Ireland and America to fight injustice, modern day slavery, and human rights abuses throughout the world.
• Nettie Washington Douglass, Founder and Chair, Frederick Douglass Family Foundation; Great-great granddaughter of Frederick Douglass; Great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington
• Kristin M. Leary, Founder and U.S. Director, Frederick Douglass/Daniel O’Connell Project
What: Representatives of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation and the Frederick Douglass/Daniel O‘Connell Project to attend White House St. Patrick’s Day celebration in honor of His Excellency, the Prime Minister of Ireland and Mrs. Kenny
When: Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 6:00 PM
Where: The White House, Washington, D.C.
Members of the press wishing to schedule an interview, please contact Joann Donnellan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frederick Douglass spent four months in Ireland on a lecture tour in 1845-46, just as the island was descending into the great famine. Douglass had escaped slavery seven years earlier, and had recently published his autobiography. It was his first trip outside of the United States, and the first time Douglass felt he was treated as a human being.
While in Ireland, Douglass befriended Daniel O’Connell, a figure still revered in Ireland as “the Liberator” for his role in Catholic emancipation and his fierce opposition to slavery. Douglass (whom O’Connell referred to as “the Black O’Connell of the United States”) and O’Connell shared the stage just once, in September 1845 at a rally in Dublin, but retained a mutual respect and affection until O’Connell’s death less than two years later. O’Connell helped to shape Douglass’s views on abolition and activism for the rest of his life.
President Obama referenced Frederick Douglass’s unique relationship with Ireland and O’Connell last year, both at the White House on St. Patrick’s Day and in his speech in Dublin in May. As the President noted on St. Patrick’s Day 2011: “…[The two men shared a universal desire for freedom – one that cannot be contained by language or culture or even the span of an ocean.”
About the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation
The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that creates service-learning curricula for use in middle schools and high schools encouraging young people to affect the issue of modern slavery by mobilizing through digital media. For more information about the Foundation please visit www.fdff.org or contact Robert Benz at email@example.com.
About the Frederick Douglass/Daniel O’Connell Project
Founded in 20011, the Project is a living legacy to the leadership of these two men and the causes they championed by strengthening the bonds of friendship between Ireland and the United States, encouraging greater understanding between the diasporas of Africa and Ireland in America, and fighting injustice and human rights abuses throughout the world. For more information about the Project, please visit www.douglassoconnellmemorial.org or contact Kristin Leary at firstname.lastname@example.org.