Every January 25th, people all over the world gather to celebrate the life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns. On an episode of her daily radio show In The Market, I talked with host and fellow Scotland lover Janet Parshall about Burns’ legacy and how he came to influence America from its earliest days as a republic. We discuss how he found fame as Scotland’s national poet and what he did to preserve his country’s folk song tradition. We also look at his success in America, and in particular, how his work shaped the beliefs and actions of two great leaders in America’s fight to end slavery: American abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.

In the interview, I had a message for those Americans who don’t have Scottish descent. You don’t have to be born in Scotland to have the qualities of a Scottish heart! As Frederick Douglass said at a Burns celebration in New York City in 1849:

“Although I am not a Scotchman, nor the son of a Scotchman, but if a warm love of Scotch character—a high appreciation of Scotch genius—constitute any of the qualities of a true Scotch heart, then indeed does a Scotch heart throb beneath these ribs.”

Frederick Douglass

Listen to the full interview here:

(Photo: David Moir/Reuters)

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