Students honour Alice Seeley Harris as an Unsung Hero

19 May 2015 by Lucy Johnson

A black and white photograph of Alice Seeley Harris sat on a chair on her 100th birthday

Alice Seeley Harris on her 100th birthday in 1970.

Alice Seeley Harris’ photographs of the Free State Congo in the 1900s revealed the horror of colonial violence and exploitation to the world. Our exhibition Brutal Exposure: the Congo at the International Slavery Museum highlights how these images were used to overthrow King Leopold II’s brutal regime. Over a century after Alice took these photographs, students in Kansas have been inspired by her story and have developed a wonderful project acknowledging her work. One of the students tells us more…

“My name is Avery Stratton. I am a senior at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, Kansas, in the United States. A couple of my peers and I are currently working on an entry for the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Project competition in Fort Scott, Kansas, which is an effort to highlight individuals who have demonstrated immense courage and compassion in the past who may have not received the recognition they deserve

Alexis Balaun, one of our team members, discovered Alice Seeley Harris while watching a documentary on the Congo. Alice’s heart-wrenching photos were showcased, but not much was said about the person behind the camera. Intrigued by this brave woman, Alexis presented her to our group and we knew that Alice would make the perfect focus for our project.  Read more…

Brutal Exposure reviewed by Vava Tampa

13 April 2015 by Lucy Johnson

Image of Congolese man with injured wrist at entrance to exhibitionThere are less than two months left to visit our powerful exhibition Brutal Exposure: the Congo at the International Slavery Museum. Vava Tampa, founder of Save the Congo and chair of the Morel Prize, has given his thoughts on the display:

Brutal Exposure: the Congo at Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum is notable for many things. One of the masterpieces at the heart of this brilliantly staged installation is a still, sanitised portrait of a Congolese man Lomboto.

Simple and sublime, Lomboto’s portrait, which is also the exhibition’s lead image – and one of the few images that became iconic for colonial brutality – fills the high white wall of the exhibition’s entrance space, Read more…

Film explores history of US enslaved women

26 February 2015 by Sarah

Dr Emily West filming outside the International Slavery Museum

Dr Emily West filming outside the International Slavery Museum

Dr Emily West, Department of History at the University of Reading wrote…

“It was a pleasure to come to the International Slavery Museum to undertake some promotional filming on behalf of the Department of History at the University of Reading. I obtained my PhD from Liverpool University in 1997 and I also used to work part-time in Liverpool’s Maritime Museum so I was very excited about returning to the city and the museum itself! Read more…

Open morning at the Royal School for the Blind

19 February 2015 by Lucy Johnson

A flyer with information about the opening morning, a portrait of Rushton and an illustration of the schoolUnsung: Liverpool’s Most Radical Son displays at the Museum of Liverpool and International Slavery Museum celebrate the campaign work of Edward Rushton, who co-founded the Royal School for the Blind in 1791. Teacher Nick Young has been blogging for us over the last few months, providing an insight into the fascinating history of the school and its work today. Here, Nick explains how the school is opening its doors for people to find out more…

“As part of the events to celebrate the life and work of Edward Rushton in this bicentennial anniversary of his death, the Royal School for the Blind, at Church Road North in Liverpool, is holding an open morning. Taking place on Saturday 7 March from 10am until midday, we invite you to come and see a part of his legacy to Liverpool. Read more…

Black Germans and the Holocaust

14 January 2015 by Sam

German wartime identity card with portrait photo of a Black woman

The International Slavery Museum will be marking Holocaust Memorial Day on Tuesday 27 January with a special free guest lecture by Professor Eve Rosenhaft from the University of Liverpool, who will be talking about the experiences of the Black German community during the Holocaust.

Eve tells us more:

“When Hitler came to power in 1933, there were a several thousand people of African descent in Germany. They included African Americans, African-Caribbean and Africans passing through, working or recently settled, but the core of Germany’s Black community was made up of men from Germany’s former colonies – East Africa, Togo, and especially Cameroon – with their German-born wives and ‘mixed-race’ children.

This talk focuses on those families. While Hitler was still hoping to recover colonies in Africa, the Nazis hoped to make use of them for political propaganda. Read more…

“An inspiration to the people of Liverpool and beyond”

19 November 2014 by Lucy Johnson

Framed painting of Edward RushtonNick Young, teacher from the Royal School for the Blind, tells us about how Edward Rushton, whose story is currently being told in Unsung displays and events across the city as part of DadaFest International 2014, continues to be an inspiration to the school:

“Every family has its treasures and keepsakes that remind them of where they have come from and possibly point a way to the future. The legacy of Edward Rushton is no exception. Our school is rightly proud to have Rushton amongst its founders. His philanthropy, philosophy and integrity in the face of opposition, particularly in relation to the slave trade, remain an inspiration to the people of Liverpool and beyond. Read more…

Edward Rushton’s legacy

13 November 2014 by Lucy Johnson

An illustration of the school at its first site on Commutation RowThe work of human rights activist Edward Rushton (1756 – 1814) is celebrated in new displays at the International Slavery Museum, the Museum of Liverpool and the Victoria Gallery and Museum.

One of Rushton’s most significant achievements was setting up Liverpool’s Royal School for Blind. Nick Young, a current teacher at the school, will be blogging for us over the next few months. Here Nick tells us more about the history of the school: Read more…

Black Heroes comic book workshop

21 October 2014 by Mitty

comic book illustrations of heroes of Black history

This guest post is from Leah Moore, who will be encouraging International Slavery Museum visitors to get creative this half term in a special comics workshop on Wednesday 29 October:

“When the International Slavery Museum asked us to do a comics workshop on Black heroes, and get people making their own comics, we jumped at the chance. People associate comics with superheroes, but the medium is used just as often to tell real stories about real people. From biographies of heroic historical figures like Senator John Lewis’ ‘March’, to Joe Sacco’s journalistic accounts in ‘Palestine’, to touching stories of heroes from everyday life like Meet The Somalis , comics are the perfect way to tell any story. Read more…

Legacies of Slavery: A Writer’s Reflection on Blackness and Queerness

16 October 2014 by Andrew

Professor Thomas Glave

How does a group of people come to terms with the legacy of centuries of enslavement? What is the effect of this legacy on the creation of an identity, and how does this group treat its gay and lesbian members?

Professor Thomas Glave (SUNY-Binghampton) has gained international praise for both his historical and literary work on race and sexuality studies, with a focus on the gay experience in Jamaica. Read more…

Penny Lane and the legacies of slavery

7 October 2014 by Sam

Penny Lane street sign in Liverpool

Kayleigh, a third year history student at Liverpool University who has a keen interest in slavery studies and African history, has written this guest blog post for Black History Month.

There is currently a series of free seminars at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool, including several for Black History Month. You can also get involved in a number of free Black History Month talks and events at the International Slavery Museum and Museum of Liverpool throughout October.

“Though the mentioning of Penny Lane usually brings up thoughts of The Beatles, the famous street in suburban Liverpool has a lesser known history. It is believed to have been named after James Penny, an eighteenth century slave ship owner, merchant, and prominent anti-abolitionist. Read more…

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