This week the Lower Fourth visited the International Slavery Museum, in Liverpool, as part of their history studies. Located on the Albert Dock in the heart of the former capital of culture, the museum is the only one of its kind in the world and is home to a rich and varied array of historical artefacts, interactive displays and picture galleries; all of which document the history of slavery from its earliest known origins to the modern day. Not only were the girls able to make a tour of the many exhibits, which included a chronological journey through the history of slavery, but were able to watch reconstructions of some of the most harrowing aspects of the trade; showing aspects of plantation life and the conditions aboard the slave ships during the voyage from Africa to the ‘New World’.
After lunch, girls were able to investigate the history of slavery through a period of group work and studied several key artefacts from the museum’s collection including replica shackles, items of clothing, embroideries and examples of some of the rich and varied relics of West African civilisations. Girls also learnt about how the city of Liverpool developed as a result of the slave trade. One particularly interesting discovery being that ‘Penny Lane’ (as made famous by the Beatles) was actually named after an opponent of abolition.
Special reference must be made to some of the girls in L4R (Grace Throne; Alice Green; Simren Atwal; Imaan Sattar; Stella Davis) who, in a little short of half-an-hour, created a fantastic poem about plantation life. Below is an extract of their work which is set to be displayed at the Museum:
Almost 400 years
On a Plantation
Almost 12 million slaves
Who had forced migration
Metal workers, gum makers, watchsmiths and sailors
Used as property like cargo.
The slaves slept on the floor – just one blanket to survive
With limited hours of sleep – just enough to keep alive
A day spent at the field was enough to cause despair
And all free time was spent cooking, mending, washing everywhere
Families would be split up, and sold off to fetch a price
Or disposed of in old age, or isolated overnight
The remainder would be taken to a plantation forever
And the slaves were forced to work day and night forever