Africology and the Voices of Black Folk presents: Origins, Migrations and The Concept Of Race.
On Wednesday 8th July, 7.30-9pm via Zoom meeting, join historian and playwright Khareem Jamal as he discusses the African origins of all people, subsequent migrations and the pseudo-scientific concept of race. This eye-opening event will provide clarity on the issues facing society today that are rooted in supposed differences in people groups, but that are more cultural than biological. Reserve your place now on the Eventbrite. Download a leaflet here.
MJR's Alton Bell and Nigel Pocock will be taking part in "Colloquium: 400 years since the start of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade" in Belfast on November 7th. This event is being organised the by African and Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland (ACSONI) and will also feature the new MJR Exhibition on the Legacy of Slavery.
ACSONI is an autonomous community-based organisation formed in 2003 with a proactive approach towards targeting needs and facilitating belonging among individuals from the continent of Africa, the Caribbean (West Indies) and other families in Northern Ireland with these linkages. The November 7 seminar will explore 400 years since the beginning of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, with talks on the epigenetic of slavery and research on the shipwrecked slave ships around Northern Ireland's coast.
The event is at Stranmillis University College, Belfast and runs from 2-6pm. Tickets are free, but places are limited and must be prebooked here. Download a leaflet here.
Last Sunday's service at Manchester Cathedral to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre was a successful balance of penitence and lament, with celebration and re-commitment to justice and equality. It was developed from a suggestion from an MJR trustee, concerned that the churches complicity in the original tragic event and the consequences for legacy should be acknowledged.
On August 16 1819 when 60,000 people gathered at St Peter's Fields in Manchester for a peaceful protest for democratic rights, the watching magistrates – several of whom were clergymen – panicked and ordered cavalry to charge and break up the crowd. What became known as the Peterloo Massacre saw at least 15 deaths and several hundred injuries, many of them life-changing. The churches mostly took the side of the authorities. This event was hugely influential politically and formative in the emerging radical character of a growing city. This character would include the dismissing of the church by the ordinary working people as being not for “us” but a part of “them”.
The legacy of such events is carried down the generations to the present day, so we felt this significant anniversary was a crucial time to make a statement. A large congregation, including a number of civic dignitaries, gathered to participate in and be challenged by prayers, art, poetry, testimony and music. Worth particular mention is poet Andrew Rudd's “Rants, Whispers and Cries: Thinking of Peterloo” with its six “Beware-itudes” (depicted in banners by artist Stephen Rawe) which drew modern parallels with the tragedy of the original event. This all led up to an inspiring message about peace, peacemaking and the Prince of Peace from Rev Dr Deirdre Brower-Latz, principal of MJR partner the Nazarene Theological College, which was followed by a Holy Spirit-filled piece of improvised music from classical music ensemble ‘Epiphany’ which captured the moment and atmosphere superbly.
Dr Robert Beckford is delivering a lecture "Is God a white racist? 'Woking' Gospel music in Britain" at Manchester Metropolitan University on Wednesday October 10, 5-6:45pm.
"How might we meaningfully reflect on the church’s complicity with racial terror in the Caribbean? And what is the role of British gospel music in articulating the memory of slavery, its continued impact and its overcoming? Entangling ideas from theodicy (the problem of evil), pentecostal epistemes (prayer, singing) and Christina Sharpe’s “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being” (creative and critical cultural production) this practice-based presentation explores the sources for a new urban ’social gospel music’ genre."
Admission by ticket only. Book here. Part of Black History Month 2018.
Manchester prospered from the horrors of slavery for much of the 18th century. Yet by the end of that era the growing, newly-industrialised town was leading the campaign for its abolition. The turning point was a meeting held at the Manchester Collegiate Church (now Manchester Cathedral) on 28 October 1787 led by the abolitionist Thomas Clarkson.
Find out about Clarkson and others such as Bright, Cobden, the Gregg and Heywood families and the unique relationship with Abraham Lincoln on this guided walk around Manchester city centre. October 18, 2-4pm. Tickets available here.
Also, on October 12, 6-30 to 8.30pm, there will be a talk: 'Slavery and Abolition in Manchester' at the Portico Library. Tickets and more information available here.
'Cotton Panic!' tells the story of the cotton workers of the North of England and their inspiring solidarity with the slaves of the American South during the US Civil War. When the supply of cotton to English mills was blockaded, the mills stopped and, with no welfare, the workers suffered horribly. But at an historic public meeting at Manchester's Free Trade Hall they identified with the slaves and their fight for freedom, sending a letter of support to Abraham Lincoln. Using a mixture of industrial music, folk-songs, imagery, dance, poetry and spoken word –including contemporary accounts and documents – Cotton Panic! is more of a gig than a piece of theatre. But, despite some of the words not always being clear, and with a mesmerising central performance by Jane Horrocks, the story is well-told and the links between the workers and slaves are clear. A final song is accompanied by a fast-moving collage of contemporary images of politicians, protesters, Black Lives Matter and significant events, which brings the issues bang up to date. Very effective.
In a post-show Q&A, the creators spoke about how the production came to be written. Jane Horrocks on 'Who Do You Think You Are?' discovered she was descended from mill-workers from this time and realised this was a largely untold story. The lack of education about the human aspects of slavery and the Industrial Revolution, and the lack of knowledge by Manchester people about their own history and culture became a theme of the Q&A. There is a job to be done!
On Monday 11th September, 2 to 4:30pm, the Movement for Justice and Reconciliation will be holding a seminar to present research on the mental and physical health legacy of transatlantic slavery. TALKING LEGACY will be a further development of research we presented in 2016.
Venue: 27 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HH.
The afternoon will also include the MJR AGM.
There is no charge but pre-booking is essential as places are limited. To reserve yours please email Jenny Cooper. Download a poster for more information
On 7 November MJR presented 3 pieces of research into the legacy of slavery at the Open University, Camden Town in London. The event also included MJR's first Annual Meeting.
The research areas were Educational Attainment, presented by Jenny Cooper, Mental Health, presented by Nigel Pocock, and Physical Health, presented by Alton Bell. Dr Clifford Hill made concluding remarks and recommendations. Responses were made by Dr John Wolffe, Professor of Religious History at the OU and Richard Reddie, author and Community Development Officer, and were followed by a lively Q&A. The 'Proving Legacy' report can be downloaded here.
Thanks all who attended and in particular to John Wolffe for hosting the event. All further responses to and comments on 'Proving Legacy' are welcome, as well as suggestions for how we follow up this research and develop new areas.
Slavery - a living legacy? An MJR event for Black History Month. #legacydaymcr
Looking at the continuing influence of colonial slavery on the mindsets of people today.
Speaker: Prof Robert Beckford, with panel chaired by Mike Shaft
Venue: Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, M2 5NS
Tickets: £6 / £4.50 available here.
It may have been officially ended way back in 1834, but does colonial slavery have a continuing influence in our society? A recent Prime Minister suggested it was time to "move on", but is that possible if the legacy of hundreds of years of forcible removal and enslavement of millions still leaves its imprint on our modern mindsets? This half day explores the evidence for the ongoing legacy of slavery and looks at ways it can be acknowledged and addressed. Professor Robert Beckford will speak and show his Channel 4 programme, "The Empire Pays Back", making a case for reparation in the form of resourcing life-chances for young people of slave descent. BBC Radio Manchester's Mike Shaft will chair a panel discussion and Question Time in response.
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