In its 20th anniversary year on Crichton Campus the University of Glasgow’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies has teamed up with the REMiND Network to deliver a programme of events celebrating Black History Month in October.
The programme features a number of films focussed on the experiences of black people in contemporary Britain and in British history, as well as a free public talk – The Solway and Transatlantic Slavery – by University of Glasgow historian Dr Lizanne Henderson.
Dr Henderson’s talk will investigate Dumfries and Galloway’s role in the slave trade – particularly those who prospered hugely from it and those who campaigned against it.
Dr Henderson said: “Scotland’s role in the slave trade was more oblique than England’s. There were few slave ships leaving from Scottish ports and no slave auctions. Furthermore, 18th century Enlightenment philosophers debated slavery at great length, mostly concluding that forced labour was both immoral and socially undesirable.
“In the meantime, many young Scottish men boarded ships bound for colonial America and the Caribbean to seek their fortune – a number from the southwest regions of Dumfries and Galloway. Many more profited from the ‘end produce’ of slavery – the sugar, cotton, coffee and tobacco. The legacy of some of that wealth is still evident today, in the architecture and large homes that were built by these merchants and plantation owners.
“On the flip side, there were those who campaigned against this brutal trade and helped to bring it to an end. The role played by Scotland in the inhuman trafficking and exploitation of the slave trade, and especially the southwest, has been largely forgotten. This talk will demonstrate southwest links with the slave trade were, in fact, very strong, bursting the bubble yet again that the Scots were hardly involved in this shameful part of British history.”
Dr Henderson’s talk – The Solway and Transatlantic Slavery – will take place at 7.00pm on Tuesday 22 October in Dumfries and Galloway Multicultural Association’s refurbished premises at 68 Friars Vennel, Dumfries, DG1 2RL. The event is free but ticketed: to book tickets please contact the School Office on 01387 702 001, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Mid Steeple Box Office in Dumfries.
As part of Black History Month the REMiND Network is curating a weekly series of films in partnership with the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre in Dumfries, generously funded by Film Hub Scotland.
Dr Alistair Hunter from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies said: “The aim of Black History Month is to make more people more aware of the actual experience of black people in Britain and in British history.
“We have selected these films to illustrate a range of experiences from 18th and 19th century slavery to the difficulties facing young Black people in contemporary Britain.”
The films include Burn! (Queimada), featuring Marlon Brando as an early nineteenth century British agent sent to the Caribbean to secure British interests in the sugar trade.
The gritty social realism of Pressure and The Last Tree complete the quartet and focus on the more recent problems and discrimination faced by black people in contemporary British society.
Each of the films will be introduced by a member of the REMiND Network and there will the opportunity for post-screening discussions. To buy tickets for the films, please contact the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre.
The REMiND Network is the Research Exchange among Migrant and Refugee Networks in and around Dumfries and Galloway.
The films celebrating Black History Month will be shown at Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm as follows:
Wednesday 16 October: Pressure (1975) | Director: Horace Ové | 15
Wednesday 23 October: Queimada [Burn!] (1969) | Director: Gillo Pontecorvo | 12
Wednesday 30 October: The Last Tree (2019) | Director: Shola Amoo | 15