Former Librarian and Social Historian John Gray delivered a lecture entitled “Mary Ann McCracken, pioneer feminist and revolutionary”.  

John, a former Chief Librarian at the Linen Hall Library, opened the lecture with a challenge to all present to “get closer to the real Mary Ann McCracken” away from what he describes as a ‘dumbed down’ version of her legacy as merely a sister of Henry Joy McCracken and the unrequited lover of Thomas Russell.  John said the United Irish revolutionary and anti slavery campaigner, who worked at the old poor house on Clifton Street, was a much more influential social reformer than she is given credit for.

John concluded his lecture by stressing the lecture for him was to “redeem Mary Ann McCracken from dewy eyed sentimentality” and recognise her in her own right as a pioneer advocate of women’s liberation and a determined revolutionary who remains a striking exemplar for our times.

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