Bill Clinton, the 42nd U.S. president, speaking about Taras Shevchenko
November 22, 1994
From speech of President William Jefferson Clinton made in the State Dining Room at the White House on November 22, 1994 during the State Dinner for President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine:
More than a century ago in the winter of 1858, the great Ukrainian national poet, Taras Shevchenko, had just returned to St. Petersburg from internal exile in the Russian Far East. There he met the acclaimed American black actor, Ira Aldridge, who was in the city performing Shakespeare. The son of Ukrainian serfs and the son of American slaves became fast friends. Theirs was a friendship born of shared ideals -- above all the dream of freedom for all peoples. It was that dream that led Shevchenko to condemn despotism with the line, "Freedom knows no dying." Ira Aldridge was so impressed by his friend Shevchenko that it was said of him that forever after he carried Ukraine in his heart.
Source of the photo (President William Jefferson Clinton, 1994):
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