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Frederick Douglass’ Lecture on Haiti
Mar 21 – Apr 03, 2024
Praising the Past

nathan richardson

The Lecture on Haiti is a speech Frederick Douglass delivered in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair, also referred to as The World Columbian Exhibition. Douglass was a formerly enslaved African who escaped and became the ambassador to Haiti (1889-1891).

The Haitian Pavilion was built in Chicago’s Jackson Park and served as the platform for the speech. Douglass and Ida B. Wells used office space at The Haitian Pavilion to advocate for civil rights.

This 6-minute excerpt is performed by poet, author and Frederick Douglass historian Nathan M. Richardson. It represents the essence of the full speech which was 1 hour long.

Learn more about “The Lecture on Haiti” and the life of Frederick Douglass
Click the first link to hear Nathan Richardson's reenactment of Douglass' speech. Here are some popular quotes from the abbreviated speech:

“The people of Haiti should be respected by the colored people more than all others.”

“The freedom that has come to the Colored race the world over is largely due to the brave stand taken by the sons of Haiti.”

"Long live Haiti. Love live Haiti."

Are You Shocked By What Is Happening In Haiti Today

Listen to what Frederick Douglass had to say about Haiti in 1893 after serving as ambassador to the Republic of Haiti from 1889-1891. Douglass resigned his tenure early after a diplomatic dispute over a commercial deal between Haiti and American corporation Clyde and Company went sour.

The company was trying to establish a shipping port at Môle-Saint-Nicolas. Clyde and Company did not want to negotiate a fair trade agreement and Douglass was on the side of the Haitian President Hyppolite and his Foreign Minister Anténor Firmin. After the US broke diplomatic protocol and sent Admiral Bancroft Gherardi and three war ships to pressure the Haitian government to negotiate, the deal fell apart and Douglass resigned in April 1891.

Back in the United States, Douglass was blamed for failing to secure the lease and the papers labeled Douglass “an unprofitable servant.”
From Our Archives
Joseph Anténor Firmin: Early Intellectual Resistor to White Supremacy and Scientific Racism
By Gershom Williams, Sr.
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