Posts by Richard
A World Cup final, Wimbledon final – and on Friday, the last chance to vote for the International Slavery Museum for this year’s National Lottery Fund Good Causes Award – July has it all.
If we are to judge the success of a museum by the amount of trophies and prizes it has been awarded though; it would in my view miss the point. And in our case this is good as we have technically not ‘won’ that much these past 10 years even though our work and ethos – and in particular our educational programmes with young people – are globally recognised and seen as exemplars within the field of museums and social justice.
Now an honourable mention by The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence in 2009 was marvellous. It was good for team morale and an acknowledgement of the work of our partners and supporters. And only last month the Museum received the 2018 UNI Global Union Freedom from Fear award for our work within the field of human rights and modern-day slavery and enslavement. UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 trade unions.
But for me being a recipient of an award that recognizes our work with young people – the future of an inclusive and democratic society – who visit a museum space and have an experience that stays with them for a lifetime; now that is some achievement. Help it happen by voting for us. We have done so much these past 10 years, often working on difficult and challenging subjects, and we are proud to say we have made a difference – maybe just a small one – but enough to say we have made Liverpool, the UK and hopefully many places around the world more tolerant, more inclusive, and better informed.
You can vote for us here or by Tweeting with the hashtag #NLAIntSlaveryMuseum. Voting closes at midnight on Friday 27 July 2018. Thank you for your support.
I am pleased to announce the addition of three new achievers to the Museum’s Black Achievers Wall. This popular exhibit celebrates the many different forms of achievement by people of African descent. The connection is that to reach their goals, to achieve in their field, they have in their own way broken barriers, put their heads above the parapet, taken risks, led the way. They have and do inspire.
The three new additions were nominated by Uniglobal members, a global trade union representing 20 million working people in 13 sectors of work around the world, with whom we work closely. We proudly celebrate our Black Achievers:
Bernie Grant MP, 1944-2000
Born in British Guiana (now Guyana), a trade unionist who became Leader of Haringey Council in 1985, the first Black person to hold such a role in Europe. Elected in 1987 as MP for Tottenham, he was an outspoken advocate for his community, and for righting the historic wrongs arising from colonisation and enslavement.
Gloria Mills, born 1958
One of Britain’s leading trade unionists, Gloria Mills has campaigned vigorouslyagainst all forms of discrimination. She was the first Black woman to serve as President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Her pioneering work on equality and employment rights has helped change the agenda, structure and culture of trade unions in the UK and beyond.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, born 1963
A past president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) North Carolina state chapter. Rev. Barber is a committed campaigner for the rights of African Americans, the poor and other marginalised groups within the US. In 2017, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign for justice, love and equality.
The new additions include an inspirational list of women from various professions and backgrounds who have been – and are – pioneers.
From the first Black woman to have a film produced by a major Hollywood studio to the first Black woman to sit in the cabinet of the UK government, these achievers have set the bar for future generations to aspire to.
We are also pleased to announce two Liverpool based achievers, Michelle Charters, CEO of the Kuumba Imani Centre and Councillor Anna Rothery, Mayoral Lead for Equalities, who continue to support the BAME communities in the city and actively fight ongoing discrimination and prejudice.
The full list is:
- Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Scientist, educator and science advocate. Maggie Aderin-Pocock is an honorary research fellow in University College London’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. In 2009 she received an MBE for her services to science and education. In 2014 she became co-presenter of the long-running TV programme The Sky at Night.
- Baroness Valerie Amos
Born in British Guiana (now Guyana), she became the first Black woman to sit in the UK Cabinet when Secretary of State for International Development in 2003. She served as UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and in 2015 became Director of SOAS University of London
- Michelle Charters
Community Activist and CEO of Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre in Toxteth, Liverpool The multi-purpose centre was the vision of the Liverpool Black Sisters, an organisation formed in the 1970’s to address the many forms of discrimination experienced by the Black community. She is the Founding Chair of the Merseyside Black History Month Group and first Black woman to be appointed a Trustee of the Everyman & Playhouse Theatres in Liverpool
- Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm
Brooklyn born politician and educator who became the first Black US congresswoman. A founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and National Women’s Political Caucus. In 1972 she campaigned for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
- Lois K. Alexander Lane
Arkansas born founder of the Harlem Institute of Fashion (1966) and the Black Fashion Museum in New York City (1979). The Institute offered free courses on dressmaking, millinery and tailoring. Lane wrote Blacks in the History of Fashion (1982) which dispelled the myth that Black people were newcomers to the fashion industry.
- Wangari Maathai
Internationally renowned Kenyan environmental activist and politician. Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement empowering local communities to work together to combat de-forestation and protect their environment and their future. In 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, for ‘her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace’.
- Zanele Muholi
Photographer and visual activist. Zanele Muholi aims to use her photography to effect social change. An ardent advocate of LGBT+ communities everywhere, she has become known globally with her series of pioneering portrait photography of South Africa’s LGBT+ communities. Her work is represented in museums and collections around the world.
- Euzhan Palcy
Martinique born film director, writer and producer. The first Black director to win a French César award for the acclaimed 1983 film Sugar Cane Alley (Rue Cases Nègres). In 1989 she was the first Black woman to have a film produced by a major Hollywood studio. The film, A Dry White Season, looked at the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa
- Paulette Randall
London born theatre and television director. A former Artistic Director of the Black led Talawa Theatre Company; Paulette Randall has directed and produced numerous productions, including collaborating on the spectacular opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. She received an MBE in 2015 for her services to drama.
- Anna Rothery
Labour Councillor for Princes Park Ward in Liverpool since 2006. Anna Rothery has been active in promoting participation of BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities in civic life. She became the first Liverpool Councillor to speak on the floor at the United Nations in 2012 and was made Mayoral Lead for Equalities with specific responsibility for race equality in 2017.
22 August 2017 by Richard
This year from the 22 – 23 August the International Slavery Museum will be leading on the city’s 18th Slavery Remembrance Day commemorations during our 10th anniversary. This has become a key date not only in the calendar of the Museum, but nationally, with people coming from around the UK to engage with a series of contemplative, commemorative and celebratory events. On Tuesday 22nd the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. building will host the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture, named in honour of a friend of the Museum, tireless anti-slavery campaigner and historian who sadly passed in 2013.
The keynote speaker at our annual event is someone who focuses on a historical theme, and possibly challenge often accepted narratives of history, in a constructive and inspiring way or someone who like the Museum campaigns against issues of social injustices. That is why this years speaker, Dr Gee Walker, founder of the Anthony Walker Foundation and mother to Anthony, a young Black man brutally murdered in a racist attack in 2005 is an ideal speaker. I know Gee personally and it is quite extraordinary that her heart is not filled with hate but hope. It is therefore an honour to act as a trustee of the Anthony Walker Foundation that aims to promote racial harmony through education, sport and the arts, promoting the celebration of diversity and personal integrity and the realisation of potential of all young people
I am looking forward to hearing Gee talk about Anthony and her work and her daughters Dominique and Stephanie who have been integral to the work of the Foundation and championing hate crime reporting in the city. Dominique once made one of the most moving statements I have heard in my role when she described the Anthony Walker Education Centre located within the Museum as “My brother’s room”. This showed how important our work is. Dominique and Stephanie will be part of a Q & A chaired by BBC Radio Merseyside Producer and Presenter Ngunan Adamu.
We have many free events over the two days but one of the most important is the libation ceremony which remembers and pays homage to the ancestors, many taken from their families, friends and homelands in Africa as part of the barbarous transatlantic slave trade that helped build many cities such as Liverpool. I hope you can join us.
See the full programme of all our Slavery Remembrance Day events here.
The International Slavery Museum is 10. We have had such a journey, done so many things, and met so many people; been involved in controversies, and literally changed people’s lives. So how do you write a blog about all that? Well it’s difficult, so let me take you back to 2008 when we launched our first anniversary exhibition rather unsurprisingly titled ‘We Are One’. As part of the introduction text I wrote the following:
“Integral to the Museum’s interpretation of the story of transatlantic slavery is a belief that Africans, despite their oppression, were the main agents of their own liberation. We hope we represent their stories faithfully. The Museum also sees itself as an active campaigner against racism and discrimination today, and we work closely with a number of human rights organisations. Our Education Centre is named in memory of Anthony Walker, the Black Liverpool teenager who was murdered in 2005… We hope you have been inspired positively by your visit today.” Read more…
15 October 2015 by Richard
In this guest blog, produced for Tate Liverpool, I talk of my recent visit to the gallery’s major exhibition curated by one of America’s most distinguished contemporary artists, Glenn Ligon (b.1960, New York) – Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions.
My first guest blog for Tate Liverpool also happens to be during UK Black History Month (rather than US Black History Month which is in February). Dr. Carter G. Woodson, often referred to as the father of African American history, established what was originally called ‘Negro History Week’ in 1926. The week became a month, February chosen as it contains the birthdays of influential figures such as Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. It was against this backdrop that I visited Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions at Tate Liverpool. Read more…
20 August 2015 by Richard
This year the International Slavery Museum will be leading on the city’s 16th Slavery Remembrance Day commemorations.
This has become a key date not only in the calendar of the International Slavery Museum, but nationally, with people coming from around the UK to engage with a series of events – both contemplative and commemorative.
On Friday 21 August 2016 the Dr Martin Luther King Jr building will host the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture, named in honour of a friend of the Museum, supporter of Slavery Remembrance Day and indefatigable campaigner against injustice and racism. Dorothy sadly passed away in 2013 and it was a great honour for the Museum when Dorothy’s family members gave their blessing to name our annual lecture after their much loved Aunty Dorothy. Read more…
5 August 2014 by Richard
Last week I spoke at the ‘Untold Stories, Buried Histories’ panel event in Glasgow, part of The Empire Café, a week long exploration of Scotland’s relationship with slavery and Atlantic slave trade. It was planned so that it ran for the duration of the Commonwealth Games. This is particularly interesting as the legacy and relevancy of the Commonwealth is widely discussed and debated. It did not take me long to see the legacy of Glasgow’s role in the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as I walked to the venue past the Gallery of Modern Art (once the townhouse of William Cunninghame, a prominent Glaswegian tobacco merchant) and Buchanan and Ingram Streets, both named after merchants who also became rich on the suffering of those working on their plantations. Read more…
30 May 2014 by Richard
Sadly, the great poet, author and activist Maya Angelou – born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928 has passed. She opened the Transatlantic Slavery gallery (predecessor to the International Slavery Museum) in 1994. Tony Tibbles, who later became the Director of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, worked closely on the development of the groundbreaking gallery and wrote an interesting article on how it came to be. He notes how they persuaded Maya Angelou to attend the opening and indeed we still have a plaque in our collection which marks this unique event. Read more…