Send Back the Money! An Evening with Frederick Douglass

7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Jam House
5 Queen Street
Edinburgh, EH2 1JE


Please join us for a performance highlighting the legacy of formerly enslaved African American Frederick Douglass, and his extraordinary impact on Scotland.

In 1846, the fugitive slave Frederick Douglass arrived in Scotland and electrified the public with his speeches against American slavery. Born enslaved (1818-1895) Douglass was the most renowned African American during the nineteenth century, campaigning for abolition, female suffrage, social justice and equality on both sides of the Atlantic. He visited Britain three times, and his first sojourn in 1845-1847 led to dramatic changes in his self-fashioning and forever altered his future career. His lectures in Scotland were particularly popular after he challenged the Free Church of Scotland’s decision to accept slaveholder’s money for the establishment of their new church. Together with Scottish abolitionists, Douglass attacked the Free Church for its hypocrisy, and led the national campaign, ‘Send Back the Money.’ At the height of his fame, Douglass inspired songs, poetry and the local community, carving ‘Send Back the Money’ onto Arthur’s Seat and encouraged children to paint the slogan on Free Churches across Scotland in red paint.

This one-act verbatim play re-enacts part of an antislavery meeting between Douglass and white abolitionist George Thompson, illustrating both the support and resistance he received in Scotland’s capital. Our script uses part of an Edinburgh speech verbatim, testimony that will not have been spoken aloud for over 170 years.

2018 marks the bicentenary of Douglass’ birth, marking a pertinent time to reconsider the legacy of his Scottish speeches and a perfect time to raise awareness of an American icon in Britain.

At the end of the performance, Katherine Campbell will sing a rendition of the popular song, 'Send Back the Money', and Dr. Hannah-Rose Murray (co-organiser of the play) will give a short talk on Douglass' impact on Scotland and Britain as a whole.

The play begins at 7:30pm on Friday 9 November 2018. Tickets: £3 each.

Generously part-funded by the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) and the United States Embassy.

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