Episode 11

Walking in the Footsteps of a Legend, A Personal Story by Christian Bolden | S.2 Ep.11

Published on: 5th October, 2022

Our Story

In a departure from our usual format, our guest Christian Bolden tells a personal story of visiting Ireland for the first time as a graduate student. He describes his experience as an African American in Dublin in 2016, a moment when three events captured attention: the US presidential election, the killing of Alton Sterling, and the death of Muhammad Ali. 

Christian’s story echoes that of Frederick Douglass, the Black abolitionist, who traveled to Ireland on an extensive speaking tour when he was a young man in 1845. Douglass found kinship with Daniel O’Connell, “The Liberator” who devoted his life to the repeal of the Penal Laws that inhibited the rights of Irish Catholics for centuries.

Our Guest 

Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, Christian Bolden now resides in Washington D.C. due to the catastrophic events of Hurricane Katrina.

Christian is an inaugural board member of the African-American Irish Diaspora Network (AAIDN) with a mission dedicated to fostering relationships between African Americans and Ireland through shared heritage and culture. You’ll hear a lot more about the organization during our conversation. 

The AAIDN is just one aspect of Christian’s community-building work. He has also been part of the Steel Sharpens Steel Summit a panel discussion committed to the enlightenment and enrichment of the Urban African-American Male Teen. He organized the "Re-New Orleans" event which commemorated the 5-Year Hurricane Katrina Anniversary and raised funding and awareness for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Relief effort.

A former Professional Staff Member in the U.S. House of Representatives, Bolden is now Principal at The Bolden Group which offers IT, Program/Project Management, and DEI services. 

Our Conversation

  • The way we find kinship with historical and mythical figures. 
  • Frederick Douglass visited Ireland with a hope that there would be a sympathy for the abolitionist cause because there were echoes in the persecution of Catholics in Ireland.
  • It’s incorrect and deeply problematic to equate the experience of the Irish immigrants with African people who were brought to America as slaves, and yet there’s something to learn when we see that there are similarities in aspects of the history.  
  • The power of curiosity in cross-cultural conversations. 
  • How Christian became a AAIDN, whose mission is to connect Ireland and African American communities. 38% of African Americans have Irish ancestry.
  • One of their main projects includes the creation of the Frederick Douglass Way in Dublin, Cork, and Belfast with professor Christine Kinealy. 
  • Diversity is about as more than demographic - it’s about diversity in experience and in ideas
  • 2020 discovery by archaeologists and geneticists: the Irish of 10,000 years ago had black skin and blue eyes.
  • More stories about Black people in northern Europe across history: Bonnie Greer’s podcast In Search of Black History
  • Connections across centuries and millennia
  • For the record, the oldest pub in Dublin is the Brazen Head!

Learn more about the AAIDN www.aaidnet.org/ and find them on Instagram @aaidnet 

Find Christian on Instagram @chrisvschristian, Facebook, and Twitter

Our Music

Music at the start of the show is by Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy, a Celtic Fiddle and multi-instrumental duo based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The traditional Irish reel we play at the start of the show is called "The College Groves." billyandbeth.com

Work with Marisa

Marisa offers 1:1 coaching for Personal and Professional growth with her Healing for Heroines packages.

She also offers Story Weaver Book Coaching for memoirists, thought leaders, and creative entrepreneurs at the beginning of their writing journey.

Find more of Marisa's writing and get a copy of her book, The Sovereignty Knot www.marisagoudy.com

Follow the show on InstagramFacebook, and join our vibrant listeners' community.

Next Episode All Episodes Previous Episode
Show artwork for KnotWork Storytelling

About the Podcast

KnotWork Storytelling
Untangling Our Myths, Reweaving Our Stories
In each KnotWork Storytelling episode, we'll explore a different story from mythology, folklore, or history, particularly from Ireland and the Celtic World. Then, my guest and I dive deep into why these ideas and characters still resonate today.

Your host is Marisa Goudy, author of The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic. She is a Word Witch, a Story Healer, a Writing Coach, and a has an MA in Irish literature from University College Dublin.

Join us as we wander through these ancient storylines as we set out on a quest to learn from the past, better understand the present, and craft a sustainable future.

Every episode reminds us that ancient stories are medicine for our ancient maladies.

About your host

Profile picture for Marisa Goudy

Marisa Goudy

Marisa Goudy is a story healer, a writing coach, and a word witch. Her book, The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic, was released in 2020.
Marisa nurtures writers and storytellers in her long-running online writing community, the Sovereign Writers’ Knot.
On this show, Marisa combines her passion for story with her love of Irish literature, culture, and folklore and her fascination with the Celtic world. She has a particular love of stories of heroines, goddess, and women whose tales were forgotten by history.