Black Abolitionists in Ireland Lecture, March 21

Black Abolitionists in Ireland Lecture, March 21

Join guest speaker Dr. Christine Kinealy for her lecture, entitled "Welcome to the Stranger: Black Abolitionists in Ireland, c. 1790 to 1860," in the Kelley Center at 5 p.m.

Media Contact: Robby Piazzaroli,, 203-254-4000 x2597

Christine Kinealy, PhD, a historian at Quinnipiac University, will give a talk at Fairfield on Tuesday, March 21, entitled "Welcome to the Stranger: Black Abolitionists in Ireland, c. 1790 to 1860." The lecture will be held in-person in the Kelley Center at 5 p.m. The event is sponsored by Irish Studies Program, the Black Studies Program, and the Department of History. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Kinealy is a respected historian who has written extensively on the history of Ireland, particularly the Great Famine of 1845-52. She has also researched and written on the history of slavery and abolitionism in both Ireland and the United States.

Additionally, Dr. Kinealy has been named one of the top educators in Irish America. In 2014, she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame and, in 2017, received an Emmy for The Great Hunger and the Irish Diaspora documentary. In 2019, she was one of five historians who walked 100-miles from Roscommon to Dublin, following in the footsteps of tenants sent to Canada in 1847. This route now forms The National Famine Way.

“Her talk at Fairfield University promises to be a fascinating exploration of the connections between the Irish and African American communities in the struggle against slavery,” said William Abbott, PhD, associate professor of history and director of the Irish Studies Program at Fairfield.

The topic of Black Abolitionists in Ireland is a relatively understudied area of history, and Dr. Kinealy's presentation promises to shed new light on this important topic. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Ireland was a center of political and social upheaval, with movements for independence and reform sweeping the country. At the same time, abolitionism was gaining momentum in the United States, and many Black abolitionists traveled to Europe in order to gain support for their cause. Dr. Kinealy's talk will explore the connections between these two movements, examining the role that Irish activists played in supporting the struggle against slavery in the United States.

The sponsors of the event, the Irish Studies program, the Black Studies program, and the Department of History, have come together to bring Dr. Kinealy to Fairfield University, and their collaboration highlights the interdisciplinary nature of the study of history. By bringing together scholars from different fields, the sponsors hope to create a rich and engaging conversation that will stimulate new ideas and insights. 

Dr. Abbott surmised, “Americans of all colors, creeds, and cultures can take a lesson from the commonality of human suffering shown by the connections between Black abolitionists and the Irish reformers of the early/mid-19th century."   

Posted On: March 17, 2023

Volume: 54 Number: 77

Fairfield University is the modern Jesuit University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s five schools. In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.