EVENTS: Black History Month at National Museums Liverpool

bhm-2010Black History Month
Free events at National Museums Liverpool.

National Museums Liverpool is marking Black History Month with a busy programme of free events and a new book about slavery. Held every October, Black History Month aims to promote as well as celebrate Black history, culture and heritage.

A series of events will take place at venues across the city and a new book – Transatlantic Slavery: An Introduction – has been launched by the International Slavery Museum.

Head of the venue, Dr Richard Benjamin, says: “October is an important month in National Museums Liverpool’s yearly programme of events. It is especially relevant to our work at the International Slavery Museum.

“Throughout the month there are a range of films, talks and workshops suitable for all ages that celebrate Black culture. All the events are free and we would like to see as many people as possible attend.

“We are also delighted to be releasing the first ever book by the International Slavery Museum to coincide with Black History Month.”

The new publication Transatlantic Slavery: An Introduction (£7.95) examines an important chapter in Black history. The book draws on the wealth of material held by the International Slavery Museum and tells of the 400-year period in which at least 12 million Africans were taken into slavery in the largest forced migration in human history.


It includes a foreword by Reverend Jesse Jackson who talks about slavery and modern day discrimination: “The museum stands as a global memorial to those enslaved Africans who not only suffered the depths of human debasement through this trade but who, in the process, contributed greatly to the development of Western Civilization.

“As a visitor and Patron to the museum, as well as someone who greatly appreciates its work, I am pleased to encourage all to visit this important institution. The impact of slavery is not to be relinquished to ‘the history of the past’ but is a part of the continuous struggle of today, the ‘right here and now’, to forever eradicate the inequities carried over from the historical enslavement of African people.”

October is particularly special month as Liverpool will be hosting the MOBO awards at the Liverpool Echo Arena. The MOBO’s celebrate Music of Black Origin and is the first awards show in Europe to celebrate urban music. In it’s 15th year the MOBO Awards play an instrumental role in elevating Black music and culture to mainstream popular status in the UK.

Black History Month Highlights include:

An evening with… award winning media presenter, writer and broadcaster  
Henry Bonsu
12 October, 5.30- 8.00pm
Merseyside Maritime Museum

Henry will talk on ‘the Personal to the Political’ and explore challenges and identify ways forward in forging black identities in today’s society. Networking and food starts at 5.30pm. Talk starts 6.30pm. (BSL sign interpreted)
Booking required e-mail or call 0151 478 4543

A bitter sweet history between Liverpool and sugar
9 October, 2pm
International Slavery Museum

A talk that looks at links between Liverpool and sugar delivered by local lecturer Ron Noon.
Booking required e-mail or call 0151 478 4543

Film Screening 500 Years Later
5,6,12,13,19,20 October
World Museum Treasure House Theatre

500 Years Later is an epic multi-award winning documentary directed by Owen ‘Alik Shahadah. A highly acclaimed, award winning documentary it looks at the history and system of the enslavement of African people who continue to fight for the most essential human right – freedom. (Collect a free ticket from the welcome desk).

Nigeria’s 50th Year of Independence Anniversary
9 October, 12.30pm
International Slavery Museum

An afternoon of talks, celebration, and learning from the Liverpool’s own Nigerian community and special guests from the Nigerian High Commission, based in London.
Booking required e-mail or call 0151 478 4543

Edmonia Lewis: The first Black American Sculptress
14 October, 1pm

Walker Art Gallery
An on gallery talk from one of the Walker Art Gallery Curators on the work of Lewis who was the first black American sculptress to gain fame and recognition as a sculptor in the international fine arts world. (Collect a free ticket from the welcome desk)

International Slavery Museum

Project Launch; Following Equiano – Recalling the Past & Reforming the Future
4 October, 6.30 – 7.30pm

Students from the four UNESCO schools in Liverpool followed the geographical journey of Olaudah Equiano which they captured in a film documentary.
4th Floor Lecture theatre, booking required e-mail or call 0151 478 4543

Not just Rosa Parks…
20 October, 2 – 2.30pm & 3 – 3.30pm

A short talk which looks at the work of some lesser known female activists of the Civil Rights Movement, including Septima Clarke and Ella Baker. Find out about their vital work behind high profile and male dominated campaigns during the struggle for freedom. (BSL sign interpreted)

Black Presence
28 October, 2pm

Collector Leslie Braine Ikomi talks about the presence of black people in Britain during the 18th and 19th Centuries through his compelling and thought provoking collection of rare images depicting the cultural, social and political life of black people during the era of Transatlantic Slavery. (Go to reception desk on the day for room directions).

Spotlight on Collections: A Hidden History
7 October, 1pm

This gallery talk will highlight some of the factors which led to Liverpool’s dominance of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It will also look at  how one object’s previously hidden history reflects the aims of the International Slavery Museum.

The Legacies of Transatlantic Slavery
21 October, 1pm

Join Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum, as he discusses some of the legacies of Transatlantic Slavery.

Spotlight on Collections: The Objects of Women
28 October, 1pm

Curator Angela Robinson will give a brief tour highlighting the representation of women in the Museum. The tour will look at areas of the museum which are about women and some of the objects they used.

Handling collection
3, 17, 26 October, 1 – 4pm

Join our demonstrator to learn about life in West Africa before Transatlantic Slavery.

Storytelling: Tales from Africa
10, 24, 27 October, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm

Immerse yourself in African tales in this interactive storytelling session.

Beyond the Boundary
Until 13 February 2011

Beyond the Boundary explores the relationship between cricket, culture, class and politics and how it can be seen as a legacy of British imperialism and colonialism and, paradoxically, as a means of resistance against it.

Home Alone: end domestic slavery
Until Spring 2011

This exhibition explores some of the issues faced by domestic workers around the globe and the continuing fight to promote workers’ rights. Home alone, invisible to society and lacking legal protection, domestic workers are among the most exploited and abused workers in the world. This is the first exhibition in our new Campaign Zone – an exhibitions and community space that aims to shed light on the legacies of transatlantic slavery and to raise awareness of the modern forms of slavery existing in the world today. Exhibition organised by the International Slavery Museum and Anti Slavery International.

Merseyside Maritime Museum

A Lecture for the Sierra Leone Society
19 October, 3pm

Gallery talk from Curator of African Collections Zachery Kingdon,
Booking required e-mail or call 0151 478 4543

World Museum

Explore the African collections in the World Cultures gallery
16 October, 3pm

An on gallery talk from World Museum Curator of African Collections Zachery Kingdon who will  look at contributors to World Museum’s collections.
*Booking required e-mail or call 0151 478 4543

Walker Art Gallery

Hidden Art Histories: The Black Presence
29 October, 1pm

A talk on gallery from Walker Art Gallery Curator on exploring Black presence in art
(Collect a free ticket from the welcome desk)

For the full details on Black History Month, visit the NML website