Douglass Week, which celebrates the life of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and his ties to Ireland, will return for a fourth year on Sunday with a range of online and in-person events. 

This year's festival will take place in Belfast, featuring a number of discussions, exhibitions, workshops, and walking tours. 

The event kicks off with the launch of a special one-week art exhibition at Ulster University on Sunday, April 14, which will be followed by a panel discussion on marginalized voices and "curating activism". 

Several film screenings and musical performances will also take place throughout the week, which celebrates Douglass's impact on the abolition of slavery and his close links with Belfast. 

Douglass spent time in the city during the 1840s as part of a speaking tour of Ireland and wrote glowing about the warm welcome he received, writing that he received the "spirit of freedom" and an absence of prejudice. 

On Monday, organizers will host the International Kickoff of Reading Frederick Douglass Together project at the new Frederick Douglass statue on Rosemary Street, featuring readings of Douglass's speeches from international visitors and local collaborators. 

A half-day symposium tracing Douglass's legacy will also take place at Northern Ireland's Public Record Office on Monday. 

Author Jan Carson and poet Nandipha Jola will host a "Douglass Dialogues" conversation at Ulster University on Tuesday, with Douglass descendant Kenneth B. Morris Jr. reflecting on his family's history with Douglass biographer Professor Marie-Celeste Bernier at the Linen Hall Library on Wednesday. 

Anti-Slavery Belfast will host guided walking tours on Sunday and Tuesday, retracing Douglass's steps through Belfast, while the Queen's Film Theatre will host screenings throughout the week. 

Douglass Week 2024 will conclude on Saturday, April 20, with an evening at the Duncairn Centre. The event will see Broadway star, Douglass descendants, and local contributors come together to honor Douglass through song and spoken word. 

Earlier on Sunday, a community gathering will take place in Belfast City Centre. 

Douglass Week founder Dr. Caroline Dunham Schroeter said the event will celebrate Douglass's strong connections to Belfast. 

"We look forward to a week of great connections, discussions, art, and music celebrating not only Frederick Douglass but also the contributions of people, communities, and organizations in Northern Ireland and around the world championing the ideas of freedom, equality, and justice," Schroeter said in a statement. 

Kenneth B. Morris Jr., who has been involved in previous Douglass Weeks in Cork, Washington DC, and Rochester, said he looked forward to walking in the steps of his ancestor. 

"I am excited to be in Belfast for #DouglassWeek to celebrate the strong connection  Frederick Douglass had with the city and the people of Northern Ireland," Morris said.

"Douglass received a warm welcome during his visit to Belfast, speaking to enthusiastic crowds and selling out of copies of his first autobiography at his first Belfast lecture. Like my great ancestor, my family and I have always received a warm welcome in Belfast and we are looking forward to visiting again." 

Douglass Week organizers have partnered with Douglass's descendants and a number of Belfast organizations to launch this year's event. 

Queen’s University, Ulster University, Diverse Youth NI, The North Star Project  (Belfast 2024), The John & Pat Hume Foundation, Anti-Slavery Tours Belfast, and the  Ulster Museum have all contributed to the week-long event, which is organized by US non-profit The Globe Lane Initiative. 

Belfast City Council, Visit Belfast, Cork City Council, Cork Migrant  Centre, Mass Humanities, the Irish Government, and the Rochester-based Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives are also supporting the event.