Black History Month 2021: Frederick Douglass, Mary Ann McCracken & the Belfast Ladies Anti-Slavery Association

2021-10-27T09:35:05+00:00

Frederick Douglass (c.1879) Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland in 1818 and after a failed attempt to escape bondage he successfully fled north to freedom in 1838. Frederick married and became involved in the abolitionist movement in the United States. However, there were some elements who doubted his story. Frederick went on to publish his autobiography in 1845 as a means to tell his full story. This put him at an even greater risk of recapture and so he sailed to the British Isles. Douglass became one of the most recognisable abolitionists. He spent three months touring [...]

Black History Month 2021: Frederick Douglass, Mary Ann McCracken & the Belfast Ladies Anti-Slavery Association2021-10-27T09:35:05+00:00

Black History Month 2021: Belfast and the Slave Trade

2021-10-27T09:00:07+00:00

As part of Black History Month this article explores the abolitionist and pro-slavery elements within the town of Belfast in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Waddell Cunningham Belfast had many wealthy merchants who owned land, estates and businesses in the West Indies in the 18th and 19th Centuries.  As was the practice at the time, these estates and businesses would have exploited slave labour to harvest crops such as sugar and tobacco.  Waddell Cunningham, a member of the Belfast Charitable Society is probably the most infamous advocate of slavery in Belfast as he attempted to open up the [...]

Black History Month 2021: Belfast and the Slave Trade2021-10-27T09:00:07+00:00

Belfast Charitable Society & the Belfast Blitz: Return From Garron Tower

2021-10-27T09:09:47+00:00

Following air strikes in April 1941  those in charge of Clifton House set about making arrangements to get the residents and the staff out of Belfast. They ultimately settled on Garron Tower on the North Coast as a safe refuge. Garron Tower was a quiet, isolated spot compared with life in the city of Belfast. Rationing also had an impact. In Belfast the relatives of the residents could have easily walked there for visits, however with petrol rationed, even those with cars did not have enough fuel to get to Garron Tower. The Matron requested additional games, gramophone records and a [...]

Belfast Charitable Society & the Belfast Blitz: Return From Garron Tower2021-10-27T09:09:47+00:00

Black History Month 2021: Equiano and Belfast Charitable Society

2021-10-10T15:15:27+00:00

Each week as part of Black History Month Belfast Charitable Society will be exploring the multifaceted history of the charity from its connections with black abolitionists and enslaved people to the abolitionist and pro-slavery movements in Belfast. The second  in this series looks at Olaudah Equiano, one of the first black abolitionists to visit Ireland. Equiano himself had been born in Africa and kidnapped into slavery at the age of ten or eleven and was forced to become a sailor. It was said that an Irish man encouraged him to learn to read and write and ultimately he managed to save [...]

Black History Month 2021: Equiano and Belfast Charitable Society2021-10-10T15:15:27+00:00

The Case of Mary West- an abandoned child

2021-10-07T09:29:47+00:00

Children were admitted for a variety of reasons to the Poor House, but we have records of a number that were abandoned by their families. Two years prior to Mary West’s admission to the Poor House a volcanic eruption had caused what was known as the ‘Year of No Summer’, which decimated crops and led to the spread of disease. Even in 1818 the effects of famine, fever and poverty were still rife in Belfast. The Poor House was under pressure to cope with demand, and the conditions in the town drove many people to desperate actions in order to survive. [...]

The Case of Mary West- an abandoned child2021-10-07T09:29:47+00:00

Black History Month 2021: William John Brown and his escape from slavery

2021-10-08T14:17:13+00:00

In August 1830 William John Brown appeared before the magistrate at the Belfast Police Court. Mr Brown, an enslaved man from America, entered the courtroom accompanied by members of the Society of Friends. Newspaper reports describe him as looking crestfallen and physically frail- the fifty-year-old slowly took the stand and was said to have recounted his story in a feeble voice. William was enslaved as a young man in Virginia, but had worked his way out of bondage and received his papers of freedom. Now a free man he got married and had five children and settled in Baltimore, Maryland. However, [...]

Black History Month 2021: William John Brown and his escape from slavery2021-10-08T14:17:13+00:00
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