The Liverpool Slave Trade- Perspectives of Slaves
This afternoon, we explored and analysed the various testimonies from Ottabah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano, documenting the horrific conditions they endured on the slave ships and thereafter in order to broaden our understanding of this tragic time. In addition to this, we also read the case study of The Zong, a slave ship owned by two Liverpool merchants, both of whom were previously mayor of Liverpool. This shocking case study revealed how 131 African slaves lost their lives when thrown overboard by the merciless crew and captain due to overcrowding on the ship. We were aghast to discover that the captain and crew of the ship were never prosecuted for this senseless act.
As part of our lesson in exploring the Liverpool slave traders, we were able to apply our understanding of the topic so far in order to analyse the source below. This source was taken from a book in the archives of Central Library in the city centre and it shows the shocking numbers of slave being transported to the key ports in Britain (Liverpool, London and Bristol).
Liverpool Slave Trade- The Abolition of the Slave Trade
Today, we independently researched the abolition of the slave trade in Great Britain and developed our understanding of how this impacted the wider world. Additionally, we also analysed a quote from Mr. William Pitt, Prime Minister in 1792, as he spoke passionately about the abolition and how Britain ought to lead the way in this as we were "plunged so deeply into guilt" by our actions regarding the slave trade. We then explored various underground rail road codes (and had a go at drawing them ourselves) that were used in America in order to help slaves escape to freedom.
The Liverpool Slave Trade- William Roscoe
Today, we explored the life of the Liverpool-born solicitor, poet, botanist and activist: William Roscoe. Roscoe was a keen supporter of the abolition of the slave trade and during his time as an MP, he published many pamphlets, poems and he even petitioned in parliament for the dissolution of the trade. In order to truly appreciate the passion of his words and thoughts on this matter, we analysed an excerpt from his 1787 poem; The Wrongs of Africa and we used our acquired knowledge of the slave trade to understand the powerful messages behind his words. Within this poem, Roscoe calls upon the 'wrath of God' to lay severe penalties upon those involved in the trade and he also berates the slave trade merchants and MPs for their arrogance in claiming that Britain was a just and fair nation- powerful words indeed!
Through our research, we also discovered that Roscoe Primary School in Liverpool was named after this famous abolitionist.