“Standing on the deck of the City of Rome, and moving among its company of passengers so unlike in appearance and character, and then looking out upon the broad, dashing billows of the Atlantic, suggested to my mind the formula that the types of mankind are various. They differ like the waves, but are one like the sea.” — Frederick Douglass, 1886
In transcribing and analyzing his unpublished travel diary written between 1886–1887 in his own hand, it is evident that Douglass’ activism did not end with the abolition of American slavery. After suffering the loss of his home in Rochester, NY, due to arson and what he deemed “the spirit of Ku Klux,” Douglass toured Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, and Egypt seeking evidence to combat scientific racism and discriminatory policies that it justified signifying that racial equality had become his new struggle.
This presentation will follow Frederick Douglass from New York City and across the Atlantic Ocean in search for democracy and equality. However, his tour left him discouraged as he witnessed the global reach of racism. He returned home with no answers, no solutions, and a pessimistic outlook on the future of race relations in America. Nevertheless, his travels and continued activism inspired a new generation of activists fighting against racism and for equality.