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Do you know why this porthole is important?

22 August 2018 by Sarah

We walk over and through some sites of historical significance on the Walk of Remembrance, including this porthole over the Old Dock.

Are you joining us on the Walk of Remembrance this year? Every year thousands of people come together with us to make a special journey through Liverpool city centre.

People from all walks of life join the procession of reflection and take part in a public Libation service at the Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool to mark International Slavery Remembrance Day on 23 August – the date of the first successful revolution of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (Modern Haiti) in 1791. This uprising led to the founding of an independent free country and inspired the fight for abolition across the globe.

We walk over and through some sites of historical significance on our Walk. Here, our Visitor Host, Daniel Wright, talks about the porthole in Liverpool One:

As I attend the walk of remembrance on 23rd of August (I hope to see you there! ) I will be very aware that the majority of people making the walk through the city centre may not know the significance of what is below their feet when they walk past the little porthole next to John Lewis.

On this journey toward Liverpool’s waterfront, people will pass the small porthole outside the store. It actually provides the viewer with a glimpse of the Old Dock, the world’s first commercial, enclosed wet dock.

Liverpool’s Old Dock was designed by 18th century civil engineer Thomas Steers. The importance of this dock is not to be underestimated. When it opened in 1715, due to its revolutionary gate system it was the most efficient dock on the planet. A ship could load or unload its cargo within a day and a half and be ready to go back out to sea. This was a vast improvement to the usual two week turn over period at the time. As a result commercial trade increased quickly and Liverpool became a major world trading port.

The new efficient dock system strengthened Liverpool’s role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This unfortunately meant that Liverpool became a main port within the ‘Transatlantic Trade Triangle’. This horrendous triangle of trade was the foundation to the town’s prosperity and development.

Slaver Ships would leave Liverpool and journey to  West Africa where traders in enslaved Africans were responsible for Liverpool seizing over 50% of the British trade. From there, millions of Africans were enslaved and transported to the Americas in horrific conditions. On arrival, the enslaved Africans would be sold and forced to work on plantations.

Liverpool slaver ships would return months later, carrying expensive and highly sort after commodities. These included sugar, tobacco, cocoa, cotton, coffee and rum.

Legacies of Liverpool’s links with the transatlantic slave trade are still around today. Street names such as Gildart Street, Bold Street and even the famous Penny Lane are all named after Liverpool traders. A detailed list can be seen in the International Slavery Museum on the third floor of the Maritime Museum at the Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

It’s quite poignant that our route toward Liverpool’s waterfront will echo the exact same route slaver ships followed centuries before…

If you would like to join the Walk of Remembrance, we are meeting at 11am on 23 August at the Church street bandstand (Liverpool City Centre). The Walk will finish at the Dr Martin Luther King Jr building, Royal Albert Dock, where we will hold a Libation, an ancient spiritual ceremony, at 12noon. Full details of this year’s Slavery Remembrance Day events.

Hello to the Terrace Tapestries

20 June 2018 by Sarah

Image copyright Jah Jussa

From tomorrow at the Museum, you’ll be able to see the Terrace Tapestries – the artworks which launched the Art of Football season, which is happening now across Liverpool. Entry to the Terrace Tapestries display will be free and everyone is welcome!

The FotoOcto arts collective instigated Terrace Tapestries as part of the Art of Football season and worked with The Florrie and artist Peter Carney to create the banners. They have been designed to show unity and cohesion across communities, which we love, and we’re proud to display them together.

Enjoy this blog by Jah Jussa, filmmaker and co-director of FotoOcto alongside photographer Tabitha Jussa, on the Terrace Tapestries:

“We’ve long admired the banners and flags created as fan art by the football fans of Merseyside. From the Everton 1984 FA Cup offering, ‘Sorry Elton, I guess that’s why they call us the Blues’, to Liverpool’s fan favourite, ‘Joey ate the Frogs legs…’ from the 1977 European Cup final, football supporters on Merseyside have laughed and coalesced behind fans banners – banners that some would call ‘folk art’ or fan culture, but which we consider to be true art and invention.

“The World Cup is the ultimate football tournament for bringing fans of different cultures and experiences together. As the World Cup 2018 got closer, and the idea of Art of Football was born, we started to think what if we made a banner for each country? How would each country represent themselves? And what would happen if we paraded them all through the centre of town before exhibiting them in the International Slavery Museum’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. building? We set out to discover.

“We wanted a fans representation of their country – no flags, but we’d have the country’s badge on one side – we wanted to veer away from nationalism to a more rounded depiction of each country.

“We got famed LFC banner maker Peter Carney on board. Peter is world renowned for his Hillsborough memorial banner, and more recently for the Sean Cox banner that the players of LFC took onto the pitch after the second semi final against Roma. Peter came up with the idea of a circular banner, representing the world within football and set about making the prototype – England’s banner which shows Liverpool as the most successful football city in the country – a total of 27 league titles between Liverpool and Everton.

“We reached out to the communities of each country on Merseyside and we ran polls on twitter aimed at national teams, newspapers and fans groups to select the final design.

Image copyright Jah Jussa

“The workshops were based at The Florrie, in the Dingle area of Liverpool, and over two weeks the banners were created. Where possible we invited people from each country to implement the design. When they couldn’t come, we got local artists and community members to help. Samia came from the French community, Francis and Cleuman from the Brazilian community, Omar from Syria came and helped Paul from The Florrie with the Arabic script for his Mo Salah/Egypt design. And artists and non-artists from the Dingle got creative with the paint.

“In the end we produced 33 banners. One for each of the world cup countries and also an extra one for us. Omar wrote ‘Love and Peace’ in Arabic and graphic artist Slim Smith designed the ‘World united through football’ motif. On the back, we got handprints from all of the artist involved.

“With the images finished, the fabric was given to fashion designer Paula Johnson to make into the circular banners that you can see.

“Ultimately, what we wanted to show was that the world can be united, and if it’s through football, even for a four week period every four years, then that can only be a good thing.”

Find out when you can see the Terrace Tapestries at our Dr Martin Luther King. Jr building. Entry is free.

New Black Achievers Announced

18 June 2018 by Richard

Black Achiever’s Wall in the ‘Legacy’ gallery of the International Slavery Museum. Image ©Redman Design/ International Slavery Museum

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

Bernie Grant MP, beside the plaque on the historic Liverpool Waterfront near to where slaver ships were once fitted out and repaired at our very first Slavery Remembrance Day event, back in 1999. A plaque is still in place today. Image courtesy of National Museums Liverpool.

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

Gloria Mills. ©Andrew Wiard

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

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II. ©Steve Pavey

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email us if you have suggestions for our Black Achievers Wall. Or find out more about why we have the Black Achievers Wall, and our Legacy, gallery here.

Slavery Remembrance Day 2017: 18 and counting

22 August 2017 by Richard

Gee Walker (centre, purple jacket) on the 2013 Walk of Remembrance

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.

Richard

See the full programme of all our Slavery Remembrance Day events here.

We are 10

18 August 2017 by Richard

International Slavery Museum 10th anniversary logologo

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…

Use Art as an Activist!

31 July 2017 by Stef

Front cover of Seleena Laverne Day’s ‘Brown Girl’ zine

As we come to the final weeks of Art of Solidarity, an exhibition of vibrant Cuban posters from the 1960s and 70s showing solidarity with African liberation movements including the opposition to South African Apartheid and Angola’s fight for independence, we will be taking inspiration from these revolutionary Cuban poster artists to offer visitors the opportunity to participate in events that aim to further explore the capacity of art forms to be a powerful tool of activism and a means to create dialogue.

For the closing weekend of Art of Solidarity, we will be exploring activism through self- publishing, in an artist-led workshop delivered by Manchester based zine-maker Seleena Laverne Daye.

A zine is a small circulation, self- published work, normally produced very cheaply using a photocopier and distributed through friends, fairs or by sale online. A zine can cover any topic from politics, popular culture, film, photography, history, food to perzines (personal zines), which focus on the individual experiences of the writer. Due to the lack of censorship within this medium, zines can also offer their authors an empowering platform to challenge established narratives and share their views with others, arguably forming an important record of social history that may explore viewpoints that are marginalised in mainstream media channels.  Read more…

Art of Activism – free cinema workshop

30 June 2017 by Stef

Join us on 15th July for Scalarama’s ‘I Want to be a Cinema’ workshop designed to support anyone interested in running their own film events

As we come to the final weeks of Art of Solidarity at the International Slavery Museum, an exhibition of vibrant Cuban posters from the 1960s and 70s showing solidarity with African liberation movements, we will be taking inspiration from these revolutionary Cuban poster artists to offer visitors the opportunity to participate in events that aim to further explore the capacity of art forms to be powerful tools of activism and a means to create dialogue.

Protest Through film

With DIY cinema projects such as volunteer- run Liverpool Small Cinema, Liverpool Radical Film Festival, exciting new film projects such as the Kinematic and Empty Spaces, as well as grassroots community ventures such as recent pop-up screenings with local filmmakers- including Sandi Hughes- as part of Granby Four Streets Market, it’s safe to say that our city already has an impressive legacy of DIY film programming. However, how does someone get started doing their own film screenings, licencing films or getting the word out about these types of events?  Read more…

Refugee Week: are we still a city of sanctuary?

16 June 2017 by Stef

MaMa choir performance, image from Migrant Artists Mutual Aid

Recent events have left many of us feeling that our community is increasingly vulnerable and divided. Refugee Week (19-25 June) provides us with an opportunity to create a more welcoming place to live, by coming together to celebrate people who have overcome incredible adversity.

To celebrate Refugee Week, the International Slavery Museum is hosting an exciting programme of free events and activities. Migrant Artists Mutual Aid (MaMa) will showcase the unifying force of music with a choir performance, that includes songs from member’s childhoods. MaMa Choir is a cross national network of women, mothers, migrants, artists, academics and activists who work together to campaign for justice in the migration system.

We are presenting short film screenings featuring Chasing Borders, a short film created by young people working with the BFI and Watershed Cinema. Chasing Borders is the heart-breaking story of a young person’s walk to safety. We are also screening Call Me Kuchu, a fascinating documentary highlighting the struggles of persecuted LGBT+ people in Uganda. The experiences of LGBT+ refugees can often be overlooked and many experience violent discrimination even once they have reached counties like the U.K.

For those who like to get hands on, get creative in our Faces of Change badge making workshop and help us create a refugee welcome display. This display will feature your pictures and stories of refugee experiences, including those from the Dunkirk refugee camp in France. The Dunkirk refugee camp was destroyed by a blaze this year along with the few remaining belongings and shelter that the occupants had left, though they continue to be supported by dedicated volunteer groups including Dunkirk Legal. With your help we can create a display to inspire museum visitors and to share our support with vulnerable people around the world.

Join in, learn and have fun to show that we are still a city of sanctuary.

For more information on all the Refugee Week events and activities taking place please click here.

A collector’s eye: OSPAAAL posters

14 February 2017 by Sarah

Day of Solidarity with the People of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, 1968. By Berta Abelenda Fernandez. Copyright: ‘Courtesy Lincoln Cushing and Docs Populi Archive’.

Mike Tyler is the collector and architect who owns the striking array of 32 Organisation in Solidarity with the People of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (OSPAAAL) posters currently on display in our Art of Solidarity exhibition. We asked Mike what he looks for when adding to the collection:

“The bulk of my collection dates from OSPAAAL’s founding in 1966 to the mid 70s, which is referred to as the ‘Golden Period’ of Cuban poster art. It is no coincidence this was a time of great political and social unrest with the civil rights movement, Vietnam War, Watergate scandal and struggles against apartheid all providing fuel to creative fire.

Many collectors are interested in the politics whilst some have an affinity with Cuba. For me, the appeal is their artistic merit, which has long been revered in the world of both propaganda art and graphic design. In terms of desirability, there is a big collectors market for civil rights and Black power material so these posters command the highest demand. Posters featuring Che, Nixon or the more well know conflicts such as the Vietnam War have a broader appeal. Then you have the more renowned artists such as Alfredo Rostgaard, Rene Menderos, Jesus Forjans & Faustino Perez who created some of the most iconic posters.  Read more…

Mike Tyler- Why I started collecting solidarity posters

25 January 2017 by Sarah

Tricontinental Conference – 3rd Anniversary, 1969 by Alfredo Juan Gonzalez Rostgaard. Copyright: Courtesy Lincoln Cushing and Docs Populi Archive.

Mike Tyler is the architect and collector who owns the fantastic array of 32 posters currently on display in our Art of Solidarity exhibition. We asked Mike how and why he started collecting these Cuban posters, designed to support freedom movements around the world:    

“I’m often asked why I started collecting Cuban posters and the truth is, it kind of just happened. As a visual person I’m drawn to design, graphics, photography, street art etc, so when I first stumbled across a batch of these posters, I could see they were something special.  Read more…



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.