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Road to Freedom

Trip to Liverpool's Maritime MuseumTo commemorate 200 years since the slave trade was outlawed in the British Empire, Eastside is working with young people as they explore the importance of this bicentenary within the context of British and London history and the impact on their own family history.

Trip to International Slavery Museum in Liverpool

On Saturday 24th November, Eastside’s Road to Freedom project visited the new International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, hosted in Liverpool’s Maritime Museum on the docks. The group had to get up very early in order to get to the museum by 12. Everyone was very impressed with the exhibition, which extensively documents and presents Slavery and the Abolitionist movement through primary source objects, video, images, models and contemporary design display. It goes as far as representing contemporary slavery in its modern day form. The Exhibition is large and detailed, providing broader context to the trade, life in Africa before Trans-Atlantic Slavery, and well represents the differing perspectives of those involved in the Slave trade and it’s abolition. It is both informative and moving, and highly recommended by all on the trip.

About the Project

Amistad ReplicaIt is two hundred years since the Act of Parliament that abolished the transatlantic slave trade in the British Empire, and a local commemoration of the bicentenary will involve young people from West Ham and Stratford helped by a £24,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

In 1807 the slave trade in the British colonies was abolished and it became illegal to carry slaves in British ships. This was only the beginning: the ultimate aim was the abolition of slavery itself.

In 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, European statesmen condemned slavery but nothing was done to improve the conditions of slaves. The campaign to abolish slavery continued in Britain. Wilberforce and his co-workers held meetings all over the country to try to persuade people that abolition should be supported. They discovered that many people were unaware of the horrors of slavery and that others were not interested in something which happened thousands of miles away. From 1830 the mood of the nation was starting to change and in 1833 the Abolition of Slavery Act was finally passed.

Film LaunchThe Road To Freedom is a project devised by the young people themselves. Up to 20 youngsters, aged 14 to 19, will be researching the transatlantic slave trade and Britain’s role in its abolition. They will gather information from visits to the Museum of Docklands, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich as well as Liverpool’s International Slavery Gallery and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

They will use the results of their research to create a documentary-drama and exhibition that will tour a number of venues in Newham. The documentary screenings will be accompanied by discussions led by the young people themselves.

The project will help to explain the abolition of slavery, the impact slavery had on the black community and will address why we need to learn and understand the impact of slavery in a wider global context, so it never happens again.

Picture of young man on the recreated slave boatPicture of young man on the recreated slave boat

The young people will be involved in organisation the research trips, recruiting a storyteller, scriptwriting, devising a play, rehearsing a play, organising filming locations, filming the play, editing the play, designing an exhibition, organising the launch of the video and exhibition and holding a series of four talks/debates/discussions on their research.