In spring 1845, Douglass published his first book 'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.' To avoid physical harm or being forcibly returned (by bounty-hungry "slave-catchers") to his bondage in Maryland, it was decided that, until things cooled down, he would leave the United States for a while, for a hastily and incompletely planned lecture tour of the British Isles.
The journey would transform the young man. Its impact upon him, particularly in Ireland, which was just experiencing the first year of the famine, would be dramatic, lasting and, in the end, liberating. Put another way, in Ireland, Douglass found his own voice. "I can truly say," he wrote home as he completed his travels there, "I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in this country, I seem to have undergone a transformation. I live a new life." While in Ireland, he met with Daniel O' Connell, the Liberator, who had secured Catholic Emancipation for the Irish at home, and Dr. Theobald Mathew, a temperance reformer. This lecture will accompany a new exhibit depicting the tour of both of these leaders to recognize African-American History Month.