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Spot the museum professional!

27 November 2008 by Richard

two men posing for a photo in front of a museum display

Lilian Thuram (on the left) – the most capped French footballer ever – on a visit to the International Slavery Museum

Hello there.

Well for those of you who are regular followers of my blog (surely double figures?) then you will know I have a penchant for the beautiful game. We were fortunate enough to be visited last week by the great French defender and World Cup winner Lilian Thuram who was in Liverpool as a patron of the Only a Game? exhibition at World Museum Liverpool.

Lilian is now retried from football but he is looking to start an origanisation which tackles issues such as racism and discrimination in Europe. As a result he wanted to come to the International Slavery Museum to look at some of exhibits which focus on this subject as well as talk about the possibility of some sort of collaboration. Lilian was particularly impressed with our Black Achievers Wall. A message he thinks is important to get across to children of African descent across Europe. 

Some of my colleagues had a good laugh at the attached picture. I have to admit myself it is not difficult to spot the famous footballer and the museum professional. Maybe if I had not smiled quite as much and looked all excited it would have been harder to choose! Sad as it might seem, after the tour and our official discussions, I could not resist asking him to come out of retirement to play a few games for my own team (Leeds United for those who don’t already know). He smiled and asked what league we were now in? He genuinely looked surprised when I told him it was the third tier of the English league. Well, if you don’t ask you don’t get as they say.

I also recently gave a talk to the Merseyside Archaeological Society one evening. I knew the organiser from my days as a PhD student at the University of Liverpool so it was good to catch up. It was held in the Friends Meeting House in Liverpool. This is particularly interesting because of the relationship between Quakers and the abolition movement. Now by no means were all Quakers always against slavery, many owned slaves themselves in the 17th and 18th centuries in particular. That said, when the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed in 1787 with William Wilberforce as its parliamentary spokesperson, several of the founding members were in fact Quakers.

I am also very excited at the prospect of flying to Atlanta, Georgia, later this week, to attend the launch of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database at Emory University. I have been invited to be a panel member which will discuss some of the ways the database can be used. The database has information about almost 35,000 slave voyages and will be an essential tool for research in my opinion. Whilst there I hope to be able to visit a number of institutions and historic sites connected to Martin Luther King Jr, who was born in Atlanta. In particular the King Center and his birthplace.

I will update you on my return.
 
Bye for now.

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