Special events to celebrate, commemorate and remember
The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool is marking its 10th anniversary this year, after first opening its doors on 23 August 2007 – the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade, and the annual date of Slavery Remembrance Day.
The International Slavery Museum is the only Museum in the world to look at the transatlantic slave trade and modern slavery.
Its 10th anniversary will be marked with the launch of a brand new exhibition, and a programme of special events and talks, beginning with a week of activity from Monday 21 August.
The anniversary launch week will be full of inspirational activities, starting with the opening of a specially curated exhibition; Ink and Blood: stories of abolition. There will also be a street carnival and commemorative events for the city’s 18th year of marking Slavery Remembrance Day, including a keynote lecture and the annual Walk of Remembrance and Libation, organised by the International Slavery Museum with support from Liverpool City Council.
The International Slavery Museum highlights the international importance of enslavement and slavery, both in a historic and modern context. Working in partnership with other organisations with a focus on freedom and enslavement, the Museum also provides opportunities for greater awareness and understanding of the legacies of slavery today.
Since opening its doors in 2007, the International Slavery Museum has welcomed over four million visitors including 279,119 schoolchildren.
Dr. Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum, said: “It is a proud moment for me, the team and National Museums Liverpool generally to have reached our 10th anniversary. Our aim was to inform, educate, and acknowledge the city’s role in the transatlantic slave trade, whilst actively challenging the legacies of that involvement such as racism and discrimination in Liverpool and beyond.
“We are pleased to offer a strong programme of free events so we can together mark our 10 years, and Slavery Remembrance Day. The opening of our latest exhibition, which looks at the human face of abolition, is a great reminder of the Museum’s roots, opening on the Bicentenary of An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, an important moment in the history of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.”
Monday 21 August 10am-5pm
The Museum reveals its new exhibition Ink and Blood: stories of abolition, which explores the personal stories of previously enslaved people and the lasting legacies of, and contemporary responses to, abolition.
Ink and Blood: stories of abolition brings together a fascinating private collection, iconic documents from leading museums and archives, and rare objects from both the Anti-Slavery International library and those collected as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund Collecting Cultures project. The exhibition tells the stories of those affected by abolition (the ending of slavery) and later, freedom. It is an opportunity to see abolition up close through ink (paper) and blood (people).
Tuesday 22 August 12-3pm
The Unity Carnival
A fun and family-friendly day of activities compered by BBC Radio Merseyside’s Ngunan Adamu, to recognise and celebrate the resilience and resistance of enslaved Africans, ahead of the Dorothy Kuya Memorial Lecture.
5pm – The Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture Delivered by a keynote speaker, soon to be announced. The event is free to attend, and always popular – recent speakers include Akala, David Olusoga, Amma Asante, Professor Verene Shepherd, Dr Gee Walker and Mr Martin Luther King III. Places are limited, so we invite anyone who is interested to follow us on Twitter @SlaveryMuseum and Facebook (InternationalSlaveryMuseum) for all the latest news.
Wednesday 23 August Slavery Remembrance Day The Museum marks its 18th annual Slavery Remembrance Day in Liverpool, a city which has been at the forefront of Slavery Remembrance Day commemorations since they began in 1999.
UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – chose the 23 August as it commemorates an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti) in 1791. The day pays homage to the many lives lost as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, it remembers Liverpool’s role as the main European slaving port, and it also celebrates the survival and development of African and Caribbean cultures.
Dr Benjamin continued: “Slavery Remembrance Day is a vital event for the International Slavery Museum, for Liverpool and the country as a whole. It not only commemorates the lives and deaths of millions of Africans enslaved during the period of the transatlantic slave trade, but recognises their resilience and resistance too. If you’ve never been to a Slavery Remembrance Day event before, why not make it this time, to celebrate the 10 year anniversary?”
11am-12noon Walk of Remembrance Everyone is invited to remember ancestors and the individuals who, deprived of their liberty, enabled the port of Liverpool to thrive by joining the Walk of Remembrance through the city centre on Slavery Remembrance Day.
12noon – The Libation
The Libation is an ancient spiritual ceremony, which involves an offering – is performed to commemorate and pay tribute to those affected by slavery. For the last 18 years, people have converged in Liverpool for this traditional ceremony to remember ancestors of African and Caribbean heritage and the enslaved.
1pm onwards – Activities
From 1pm a range of free activities will take place within the International Slavery Museum including talks, object handling, performances and badge-making.
The Museum has a year-round programme of free events, talks and exhibitions. Look out for the special #ISM10years events, organised for the anniversary year. In July, these include a Human Rights Poetry Workshop and sessions for school groups of Capoeira, which has its roots in the transatlantic slave trade.