Black Radical Abolitionists

March 2007 marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. One of the turning points in the campaign to abolish the slave trade was the 1789 publication of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Among the many abolitionist tracts, this indictment of slavery, written by a former slave, had arguably the biggest impact on the British public. Similarly, the actions of former slaves energized radical movements […]

Caribbean Struggles After Slavery

Richard Hart: Key figure in the politics of the Caribbean of the 20th century. Trade Union and political activist in Jamaica, Guyana and Attorney General of Grenada; a post he held until the American invasion in 1983. As an academic, Richard Hart taught at Northwestern University, USA, and has also been a visiting lecturer at a number of Canadian and American universities, the University of Guyana, University of Havana, University of the West Indies in Jamaica and Trinidad and the University of […]

Bristol Abolition Pub Night

At the end of the 18th century, slave ship sailors and abolitionists met in the Seven Stars pub to plot the end of the slave trade. Join us at this historic Bristol landmark for a night of plotting, moshing and moonstomping. Compere Mark Steeds will introduce us to the history of the Seven Stars before handing over to Bridgewater DJ Dave Chapple who will lead us towards ska enlightenment. DJ Chapple's lecture will be a musical odyssey from the end of slavery in Jamaica to independence; or as he […]

The Invisible Abolitionists And The Slaves Who Abolished Slavery

Adam Hochschild: A multi-award winning author, his first book Half the Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son, was published in 1986. It was followed by The Mirror at Midnight: a South African Journey, The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin, Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels, King Leopold's Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa and Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves. His widely read books have won numerous […]

Scandal! The Slave Profiteers

Jim McNeill's contribution concentrated on how the Emancipation Act of 1833 awarded Bristol-based slave owners compensation of over £500,000 for the 'loss' of their slaves. Jim looked at how this money was invested to stimulate the establishment and growth of industrial development, including Gas, Cotton and Railways in the city. Listen to this talk: Part 1 Part 2 Download Part 1 (10 Mb mp3 file) Download Part 2 (7.3 Mb mp3 file) See a pdf file containing the power point slides for this lecture

La Ultima Cena

Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1976, 120 minutes, Colour. (Spanish with English subtitles) Attempting to fulfil a religious obligation, the Count of a sugar mill in Cuba at the end of the eighteenth century decides to recreate the Last Supper, playing Jesus Christ himself and randomly selecting twelve slaves as his disciples. Tensions break out between Don Manuel, a cruel, hardened overseer who believes that slaves have nothing to do with God and that letting slaves eat at the master's table […]

Opening The Archives: The Abolitionist Movement In Bristol

Jane Bradley and Dawn Dyer kindly complied a selection of books, posters and newspapers from the Reference Library's collection charting both the slave trade and its abolition. These included an early edition of Equiano's An Interesting Narrative, election posters from 1832 (for and against the continuation of slavery) and adverts in newspapers offering rewards for runaway slaves.

Black And Blue: The Social History Of Bristol Glass

Jim McNeill, local historian, storyteller and member of Living Easton will lead us on a walk that explores the history of Bristol Blue glass and reveals its links to slave money. From Ye Shakespeare Public House, (Victoria St) to The Ostrich Public House. A walk along the River Avon, through the districts of Redcliffe and Temple, Bristol, to explore the sites of the city's glasshouses and how they were sustained by colonial expansion and Bristol's involvement in the slave trade. Read an […]


Pontecorvo's memorable sequel to Battle of Algiers sees Brando in finely ambiguous form as the drunken, cynical Sir William Walker, a British agent sent to the Caribbean island of Queimada in the mid-1800s to stir up a native rebellion against the Portuguese sugar monopoly; ten years later, he is forced to return there to destroy the leader he himself created, in order to open up trade with Britain. Falling between epic adventure and political allegory, the film is occasionally clumsily […]

Slavery: Resistance & Rebellion 2

Sugar and Tobacco: Drugs of Capitalism - Dave Cullum This lecture studies the impact of Bristol's international trade on the developing industrial economy of England in the 18th and 19th centuries, with a focus on diet, nutrition and addiction amongst the new urban proletariat…. Listen to this talk: Download this lecture The Anti-slavery Movements in Bristol - Madge Dresser There were three anti-slavery campaigns in Bristol between the late eighteenth and the early twentieth centuries: the […]