In August 1845, Frederick Douglass began what would be nearly a 2-year long tour of Ireland, Scotland, and England. Douglass had only escaped from slavery seven years earlier and had been speaking at abolition meetings for four years.
The abolitionist commenced what would become his Transatlantic tour when he first set sail to Britain and experienced a country where many respected him as a free man. During his tour, Douglass captured the minds and hearts of many, sharing his abolitionist story through speaking engagements across Europe. He traveled by steamship, omnibus, carriage, and train to reach these audiences. The tour lasted until 1847 when he returned to the United States. Douglass’ travels would inspire many over the centuries to come and is chronicled in his book, “My Bondage, My Freedom.”
- Mosby, Kwin. 2020. “How Travel Shaped Frederick Douglass’ Famous Speech ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July’.” Travel and Leisure.
- Ward, Brian. 2018. “Frederick Douglass: the ex-slave and transatlantic celebrity who found freedom in Newcastle.” The Conversation.
- Quinn, F. John. 2002. “Safe in Old Ireland”: Frederick Douglass’s Tour, 1845–1846”. Vol. 64, No. ¾. The Historian.
- Collection: Frank W. Legg Photographic Collection of Portraits of Nineteenth-Century Notables, 1862 – 1884. “Frederick Douglass circa 1879.” National Archives at College Park – Still Pictures (RDSS).