Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Do you remember the days of slavery?

A local initiative to mark the 200th anniversary of the Abolition Act of 1807:

"A unique event will take place outside Deptford Town Hall, New Cross Road on the morning of Monday 4th June 2007 at 10:30 am. A group of people wearing yokes and chains will stop outside the town hall and attempt to make reparation for the acts of the seamen carved in stone on the front of the building. The statues are of three figures with disreputable histories:

- Sir Francis Drake was a pioneer of the slave trade making at least three royally sponsored trips to West Africa to kidnap Africans and sell them into slavery.
- Robert Blake was Cromwell's chief admiral and fought the Dutch to secure the trade triangle between the Caribbean, West Africa and England.
- Lord Horatio Nelson was a fierce advocate for the trade. He wrote from the Victory on the eve of Trafalgar that as long as he would speak and fight he would resist "the damnable doctrines of Wilberforce and his hypocritical allies".

Following the ceremony, Goldsmiths is hosting a debate inside the town hall on the themes of reparation and apology, with a panel of speakers including:

David Potts – Expedition Lifeline
Dr Jean Besson – Anthropology Department, Goldsmiths
Toyin Agbetu – Ligali
Esther Stanford – Rendezvous for Victory
Dr William 'Lez' Henry – Sociology Department, Goldsmiths .

Prior to the event there will be a procession through Deptford and New Cross starting at 9:00 am from St Nicholas Church, Deptford.

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