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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.

Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?

23 April 2018 by Sarah

Abolition banner designed in the workshop

As part of our International Women’s Day and #Vote100 programme, our visitors worked with textiles artist Seleena Daye to create a banner celebrating inspiring female abolitionists who fought to end slavery.

In this blog, Seleena shares the processes she used to create the banner and more about the inspiring women who are featured.

“So much of what we read around slavery and the abolition of it is very male centric, so to sit down with a bunch of women of all ages and celebrate through a medium often deemed as ‘women’s work’ was a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.

“The reasons why each participant made the piece they did were so varied, from the felt portrait of Sojourner Truth, which was made as a personal challenge to the creator as it was something she had never done and didn’t think she could do. To the embroidered portrait of the Forten Sisters, which was chosen because the creator of that piece is herself 1 of 3 sisters? The Mary Prince piece was chosen because Mary Prince came from Bermuda, like the grandparents of another attendee. Even the piece including an afro comb has a connection both to the creator and to slavery, bringing up discussions around Black hair and the heritage of hairstyles, for example around cornrows being used by enslaved women who, rarely being allowed time or opportunity to do their hair, may have desired a style that would last.

“When bringing the contributions together into a finished piece, I added imagery of other women abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman and Ellen Craft and also explored ways in which people escaped from enslavement, through the Underground Railroad, quilt codes and navigating escape using constellations. There is the quilt code included in the banner, that meant ‘follow the North Star’ and the constellation in the centre is of The Big Dipper which features the North Star.

“In the banner’s corner are some dates, ‘1865 – 2018’, making reference to the date of abolition in the United States of America, and the words ‘Keep Fighting For Freedom’ sitting next to a portrait of Malala Yousafazi, who is a modern day female activist fighting for the freedom of young girls, pointing out that POC are still not truly free. In the opposite corner sits a square with bananas and a cotton plant, things we use today, that one time were picked by the hands of enslaved people, and in some cases still picked by people who don’t have basic human rights.

“I have also included coloured hessian within the banner to represent the goods being packed into hessian sacks, to indigo and African batik inspired fabrics that are a nod to the continent enslaved people were taken from, Africa. I hand dyed the centre piece fabric which was originally a pale blue cotton. I dyed one end green and the other midnight blue, signifying the huge journey many people took, from earth to the sky. The central image of the banner is a silhouette of a woman in shackles under the slogan ‘Am I not a woman and a sister’ which is inspired by abolition imagery used by campaigners at the time, but can also be a message that rings true today.

“It was such a pleasure to be able to create something so important amongst other women who stitched and spoke of solidarity and hardships and how far we’ve come and how far we still have yet to go.

We are women and sisters.”

 Our new female abolitionists banner is here at the International Slavery Museum within the Anthony Walker Education Centre.

This workshop was part of our Adult Creative Offer.

17 March 2018: One-day Conference: Slaves of Fashion: Archives, Art and Ethics

2 February 2018 by Ann

To accompany The Singh Twins’ major new exhibition Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins at the Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool and the University of Liverpool School of Histories, Languages and Cultures are hosting a one-day conference, open to the public to explore the issues raised by The Twins’ new artworks.

Read more…

Uncover the secrets of the Underground Railroad – with computers!

20 July 2017 by Sarah

This is a secret symbol or quilt code to communicate ‘safe house’. It will be included in the Underground Railroad computer game. Credit: Belvedere Academy History Club

How do you create a “choose-your-own-adventure” computer game about a hidden history that was conducted in secret, out of sight and under the cover of darkness? This task was explored by five remarkable students from Belvedere Academy as they created a series of scenarios, each with choices and consequences based upon the Underground Railroad, the code name for a network of secret routes, places and people that aided fugitives in the United States escape from Slave States to Free States.

The project will be showcased on 27 July and 23 August as part of the Museum’s 10th anniversary programme of free events and talks, including its Slavery Remembrance Day commemorations Read more…

‘Blind School’ digital trail at the Museum of Liverpool

24 November 2016 by Liz

Steve Binns at Mapping Monday (c) Jack Morgan DaDaFest

Steve Binns at Mapping Monday (c) Jack Morgan DaDaFest

Today we have a guest blog from Kerry Massheder-Rigby, History of Place Project Coordinator:

“For Disability History Month 2016 the History of Place project partnered with the Museum of Liverpool to launch a ‘Blind School’ trail on the Merseyside Map in History Detectives.  This trail, about the history of the Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool, has been researched by volunteers as part of the History of Place Project, delivered by Accentuate.  History of Place is a nationally significant social history programme which will chart disabled people’s lives from the middle ages until the late 20th century in relation to built heritage. In Liverpool the project is investigating the Royal School for the Blind, established in 1791.  Read more…

‘IT’ – a poem by by Peter Ogunsiji

5 September 2016 by Sarah

‘Sugar Coated’, an art work produced by Peter Ogunsiji in relation to the poem, ‘IT’. Courtesy of Peter Ogunsiji.

‘Sugar Coated’, an art work produced by Peter Ogunsiji in relation to the poem, ‘IT’. Courtesy of Peter Ogunsiji.

Peter Ogunsiji is an issues-based artist from Toxteth in Liverpool, who aims to create works stimulating awareness, discussion and action.

Peter is a good friend of the Museum and has sent us the below poem, inspired by his recent volunteering work with Action for Blind People to raise awareness of diabetes related vision loss – Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people are 50% more likely to develop these conditions than Europeans. The poem is called ‘IT’ . Can you guess what ‘IT’ is?

Read more…

I was Born to Be Free – poem by Kenneth Samuels

17 August 2016 by Sarah

slavery-remembrance-day-logoThe Museum is looking ahead to Slavery Remembrance Day on 23 August. A crucial event in the fight to end the European transatlantic slave trade happened on this date in 1791, when there was an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern Haiti). 

Thinking about this today, we are publishing a moving poem about slavery from Kenneth Samuels, a visitor to the Museum, who was actually born on 23 August – but 175 years after Haiti. Here is the poem with an introduction by Kenneth:

Read more…

‘Trade’ – exhibition provides inspiration for new theatre venture

28 July 2016 by Alison

Jogini - wedding ceremony

Jogini – wedding ceremony

In June last year ‘Broken Lives – Slavery in Modern India’ opened at the International Slavery Museum, a powerful and moving exhibition revealing stories of hardship, survival and hope for broken lives mended.

The exhibition (open until 11 December), delivered in partnership with the Dalit Freedom Network, focuses on the victims of modern slavery in India, most of who are ‘Dalits’. Many Dalits still experience marginalisation and prejudice, live in extreme poverty and are vulnerable to human trafficking and bonded labour.

Feedback from visitors to the exhibition has been incredible, for one particular individual though their visit has left a lasting impression… Read more…

A British Subject Enslaved in America

8 July 2016 by Sarah

Newspaper clip about William Houston from the Lebanon Courier, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, 16 April 1852.

Newspaper clip about William Houston from the Lebanon Courier, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, 16 April 1852.

This week’s guest blogger, David Fiske, spent years investigating the life of Solomon Northup, the free Black man whose kidnapping and enslavement was the basis for the film ‘12 Years a Slave’. Sadly, the tragedy that befell Northup was not unique. David shares the history of William Houston, a free Black man living here in Liverpool (UK) in around 1840, who was enslaved in America: Read more…

Fair Trade and Supply Chains: History, Policy and Action

19 February 2016 by Sarah

Joe Kelly, a PhD researcher with the University of Liverpool and International Slavery Museum, who has put together an online exhibition about Abercrombie Square

Joe Kelly, PhD researcher with the University of Liverpool and International Slavery Museum

You may have seen discussions in the news about fair trade and supply chains recently? And Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 is fast approaching…

On 1 March, we are bringing together experts to discuss the Modern Slavery Act, and its ability to deal with British companies profiting from modern slavery in their supply chains.

This will be followed by a guided tour of our ‘Broken Lives: Slavery in Modern India’ exhibition.

Ahead of this, we’re speaking to Joe Kelly, an ESRC funded PhD researcher with the University of Liverpool and International Slavery Museum. His work focuses on the relationship between British businesses in the post-emancipation period. Here’s Joe’s guest-blog…. 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.