Tuesday, August 20, 2013

UNESCO International Remembrance Day for the Slave Trade and its Abolition

Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780) by Thomas Gainsborough (National Gallery of Canada)

Friday 23 August, 11.30am – 4.30pm
FREE at the National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is hosting a day of remembrance on the anniversary of the first successful slave uprising in the western hemisphere (23 August 1791 in Haiti).

The day's events will explore the Museum’s collections relating to the trade of enslaved people, as well as focusing on the many local connections to be found in the Greenwich World Heritage Site. Actor and broadcaster Burt Caesar will act as Master of Ceremonies for the day, and will lead the closing ceremony, which will take place by the River Thames at the Water Gates at the Old Royal Naval College at 4.15pm. Participants are invited to scatter rose petals into the river as an act of silent commemoration.

Dr Temi Odumosu will explore the themes and attitudes of George Cruickshank’s The New Union Club, which is considered one of the most racist and complex prints of the 19th Century (12.30pm). Composer Dominique LeGendre is giving a talk on black composers from the period of enslavement, including celebrated composer and man of letters Ignatius Sancho (pictured above) who lived in Greenwich and was the first black man to vote. There is also an interactive tour for families by storyteller Rich Sylvester exploring Ignatius Sancho's early life (12pm & 3pm), and historian S. I. Martin (author of children's books and the learning manager at the Black Cultural Archive in Kennington) will lead a walking tour to St Alfege Church, Greenwich, looking into the impact that the slave trade had on Greenwich families (starts 2pm at the Museum entrance).

There will also be singing and art workshops during the day (for all ages and abilities). To find out more go to the National Maritime Museum's webpage.

Also, during August at the Museum, there's storytelling centred around Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE:
Mondays and Wednesdays throughout August, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, FREE
Discover what life was like for a Black sailor in Nelson’s navy, through the eyes of John Simmons. From being press-ganged and taken away from his home in Jamaica, the young sailor's moving story reveals the realities and surprising freedoms of a life at sea with Admiral Nelson.
Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, Sammy Ofer Wing entrance, National Maritime Museum.
Suitable for ages 7+  More info here.

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