“Agitate!” Frederick Douglass and Ireland
September 29, 2020
NYU DC Dialogues and Global Irish Studies at Georgetown University, in conjunction with Georgetown’s History Department, the African American Irish Diaspora Network, University College Cork, Glucksman Ireland House of New York University, and the Embassy of Ireland USA, presented “Agitate!” Frederick Douglass and Ireland: a conversation about history, solidarity, and racial justice in Ireland and the US.
The conversation was moderated by Prof. Miriam Nyhan Grey, Associate Director of Glucksman Ireland House at New York University, and introduced by Ambassador of Ireland to the US, Dan Mulhall. It featured Prof. Edna Greene Medford (Howard University), Prof. Christine Kinealy (Quinnipiac University), and Prof. Maurice Jackson (Georgetown University).
Daniel Mulhall took up duty as Ireland's 18th Ambassador to the United States in August 2017. He was born and brought up in Waterford and undertook his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at University College Cork where he specialised in modern Irish history.
Ambassador Mulhall joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1978 and had his early diplomatic assignments in New Delhi, Vienna (OSCE), Brussels (European Union) and Edinburgh where he was Ireland's first Consul General, 1998-2001. He served as Ireland's Ambassador to Malaysia (2001-05), where he was also accredited to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2005, he was conferred with an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland for his work in connection with the Asian tsunami. From 2009 to 2013, he was Ireland's Ambassador to Germany.
Before coming to Washington, he served as Ireland's Ambassador in London (2013-17). During his time in Britain, he was a regular speaker on political, literary and historical topics at Universities all over the country, including at Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Durham, King's College London and the London School of Economics. He also spoke at the Oxford Literary Festival, the Newbury Festival, the Liverpool Literary Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He was a regular speaker at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies and is an Honorary Fellow at the Institute. Before departing for Washington, he was made a Freeman of the City of London in recognition of his work as Ambassador.
During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Mulhall has also held a number of positions at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including as Director-General for European Affairs, 2005-2009. He also served as a member of the Secretariat of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation (1994-95) which was set up in 1994 in order to promote political dialogue between different political traditions in Ireland. From 1994-98, he was the Department's Press Counsellor and in that capacity was part of the Irish Government's delegation at the time of the Good Friday Agreement 1998.
Ambassador Mulhall maintains a keen interest in Irish history and literature. He is the author of A New Day Dawning: A Portrait of Ireland in 1900 (Cork, 1999) and co-editor of The Shaping of Modern Ireland: A Centenary Assessment (Dublin, 2016) and has made numerous contributions to books, newspapers and journals published in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Britain.
A keen advocate of public diplomacy, Ambassador Mulhall makes regular use of social media in order to provide information on the work of the Embassy, to highlight Ireland’s achievements and to engage with Irish communities and those with an interest in Ireland. During his time in Washington, he will provide daily updates on Twitter @DanMulhall and through regular blogs to be posted on the Embassy's website.
Daniel Mulhall is married to Greta and they have a daughter and a son.
Dr. Miriam Nyhan Grey, Director of Graduate Studies, Glucksman Ireland House NYU
Miriam Nyhan Grey has an interest in the intersections of migration, race and ethnicity and she focuses primarily on immigrant experiences in comparative frameworks. She has been on faculty at Glucksman Ireland House NYU since 2009, teaching an array of classes on Irish history and migration, oral history and comparative migration. Since 2008, she has been a collaborator on the oral history collection of the Archives of Irish America, at NYU’s Bobst Library, and she has been recording oral histories in Ireland, Britain and the United States since 2000. She hosts the weekly "This Irish American Life" radio hour on public radio on Saturdays from 9am to 10am on WNYE 91.5 FM and on www.nyuirish.net/radiohour. At present, she is preparing a book manuscript on drawing from oral histories with Irish immigrants in New York and London circa 1946 to 1961.
P.h.D., Dept. of History & Civilization, European University Institute (EUI), Florence, Italy, 2008
M.Res., History & Civilization, European University Institute (EUI), 2005
M.Phil., University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, 2004
B.A., University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, 2000
Dr. Maurice Jackson, Associate Professor, Georgetown University
Maurice Jackson teaches in the History Department and African American Studies Program and is Affiliated Professor of Music (Jazz).
Before coming to academe he worked as a longshoreman, shipyard rigger, construction worker and community organizer. He is the author of Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism, co-editor with Jackie Bacon of African-Americans and the Haitian Revolution and co-editor with Susan Kozel of Quakers and their Allies in the Abolitionist Cause, 1754-1808.
Jackson has won many fellowships and is the author of many articles on the Atlantic world and African American history and culture. He is co-editor of a special issue on Jazz in D.C. in Washington History. Jackson wrote the liner notes to the 2 jazz CDs by Charlie Haden and Hank Jones, Steal Away: Spirituals, Folks Songs and Hymns and Come Sunday. He has recently lectured in France, Turkey, Italy, Puerto Rico and Qatar.
A 2009 inductee into the Washington, D.C. Hall of Fame, he was appointed by the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia as the first chair of the DC Commission on African American Affairs (2013-2016) and serves as special advisor on D.C. Affairs to Georgetown University President Jack DeGioia. In the fall of 2017, he will issue a report to the D.C. Government, “An Analysis: African American Employment, Population & Housing Trends in Washington, D.C.” Also in the winter 2017-18 Georgetown University Press is publishing his co-edited book Jazz in D.C. He is at work on Halfway to Freedom: African Americans and the Struggle for Social Progress in Washington, D.C.
He and his wife Laura Ginsburg live in DC and have two children. Lena is a 2003 graduate of the National Cathedral School for Girls and a 2007 graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and was a member of the varsity track team. She recently received her MA in documentary film at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Miles is a 2006 graduate of the St. Albans School of Boys and a 2010 graduate of the University of Michigan where he was a member of the Men's Soccer team. He is the founder and executive director of Cuba Skate, which promotes understanding between US and Cuba youth through the sport of skateboarding.
Dr. Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland's Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University
Christine Kinealy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she completed her doctorate on the introduction of the Poor Law to Ireland. She then worked in educational and research institutes in Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool.
She has published extensively on the impact of the Great Irish Famine and has lectured on the relationship between poverty and famine in India, Spain, Canada, France, Finland and New Zealand. She also has spoken to invited audiences in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress.
Based in the United States since 2007, she was named one of the most influential Irish Americans in 2011 by "Irish America" Magazine. In 2013, she received the Holyoke, Mass. St. Patrick's Day Parade's Ambassador Award. In March 2014, she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.
Dr. Edna Greene Medford, Professor of History, Howard University
Edna Greene Medford is a Professor in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is also a former chair of the Department of History. She also served for several years as director of the Department of History’s graduate and undergraduate programs. Specializing in nineteenth-century African-American history, she teaches courses in the Jacksonian Era, Civil War and Reconstruction, and African-American History to 1877. Dr. Medford was educated at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Virginia, the University of Illinois (Urbana), and the University of Maryland (College Park), where she received her Ph.D. in United States history.
Dr. Medford has served as the Director for History of New York’s African Burial Ground Project and edited the volume Historical Perspectives of the African Burial Ground: New York Blacks and the Diaspora (volume 3 of the series, The New York African Burial Ground: Unearthing the African Presence in Colonial New York). She has published numerous articles and book chapters on African Americans, especially during the era of the Civil War.
Her books include Lincoln and Emancipation (2015) as well as co-authored books The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views. She compiled and wrote the introductions to the edited two-volume work The Price of Freedom: Slavery and the Civil War - Volume I, and The Price of Freedom: Slavery and the Civil War - Volume II.
Dr. Medford has served as a faculty mentor to the Ronald McNair Scholars since 1998, and she is the faculty sponsor for the campus chapter of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. She is a former member of the Board of Trustees of National History Day, Inc., a member of the Executive Committee of the Lincoln Forum, and chairperson of the Scholars Advisory Council at President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Armed Services Retirement Home in Washington, DC. She serves on the board of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, the Ulysses S. Grant Association, the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College (Galesburg, Illinois), and the Abraham Lincoln Institute.
Dr. Medford is the 2009 special bicentennial recipient of the Order of Lincoln, an award given by the state of Illinois, for her scholarship on the president. She lectures widely to scholarly and community-based groups and has presented to national and international audiences on topics that range from Alexis de Tocqueville’s influence on American politics to community-building among American free blacks in Civil War-era Canada, to African American responses to Abraham Lincoln’s wartime policies. Several of her lectures are featured on C-SPAN.
Currently, Dr. Medford is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lectureship Program.