Michael Morris’s Slavery Walking Tours

Michael Morris’s Slavery Walking Tours

Black History Month runs each October in the UK to highlight the contribution made by black men and women to Britain’s heritage. This year, LJMU English’s Michael Morris led two public walking tours for Black History Month in Glasgow. Michael’s research revealed that all twelve of the statues in Glasgow’s central George Square have a connection to slavery and abolition. George Square was laid out in 1781 and the statues, erected between 1819 and 1902, are designed to celebrate scientists, writers, military figures, politicians and royals. These statues tell a sanitised story of Empire – whether a clean story of trade from the Clyde, or an orderly procession of colonised peoples paying tribute to a monarch. In an example of ‘guerrilla memorialisation’, this walking tour read the statues ‘against the grain’ to reveal a hidden history of Glasgow and Scotland’s involvement in slavery associated with each and every one of the statues on display. Both tours were sold out and led to great...
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Michael Morris at ‘Abolition, Memory and Time’ Seminar

Michael Morris at ‘Abolition, Memory and Time’ Seminar

LJMU English's Michael Morris was delighted to be invited to take part in the seminar 'Abolition, Memory and Time' at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath in North East Scotland on 16th April 2016. This amazing venue is currently developing as an Arts Centre,  and this, its inaugural seminar, was based around Graham Fagen's exhibition Scotland + Venice 2015, previously at the Venice Biennale. Fagen's exhibition is based around the story of Robert Burns' near emigration to work as a book-keeper on a slave plantation in Jamaica. Fagen took an abolitionist song 'The Slave's Lament' often attributed (though on fragile evidence) to Burns, and recorded a new version with reggae artist Ghetto Priest. The seminar opened out the topic of the exhibition to explore Scottish connections with Atlantic slavery and the continuing importance of questions of race in the present. In particular, connections with the North East were emphasised: as Montrose had been a key port in the tobacco and rum trades, slave ships had left from its port. A...
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