Keeping up-to-date with the news and debates about the history issues highlighted by the Black Lives Matter reaction to the murder of George Floyd is becoming very difficult. This week sees some virtual talks sand a BBC repeat on the slave based Jamaican run contract in the 18thC, Journey-to-Justice on anti-racism action, and David Olusoga’s 2015 BBC programme on British slave-ownership. Other notes include racism and anti-racism in Glasgow, the Dutch in the Caribbean, sites of slaver remembrance in Europe, Bruce Springstein’s song list for the Trump era, the BBC and Black Classical music, the history of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, a view from Canada, the debate about statues in the US, Lloyds and the Zong, and history notes from the US and the Caribbean.
Wednesday 1 July. 6.30pm. Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract
The Friends of the Georgian Society of Jamaica webinar interview with Richard Atkinson about
his new book Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract. The author’s personal journey of discovery began when he found in a box of old family papers a list of the names and monetary values of nearly 200 enslaved people. Central to the story is Richard’s five times great-uncle Richard Atkinson (1738-1785), Alderman of London, MP, Director of the East India Company, merchant, slave trader and slave-owner.
To watch register at
Thursday 2 July 8-9pm. Journey to Justice Zoom on Anti-Racism
‘For anyone who wants to share ideas about what we can do about systemic racism. Hear from activists doing anti-racist work via the arts, history/stories and social change which complements JtoJ’s approach to human rights education. Discuss your response to the killing of George Floyd and the global solidarity which came after and your experiences of challenging racism.
Our aim is to gather examples and learn from each other.’
See JtoJ’s response. ‘We know words are not enough’:
Register your interest by the end of July 1st
A Zoom link will be sent to you.
Its Economic (In)Justice project fundraising details can be seen at:
Thursday 2 July. 9pm. Britain’s Forgotten Slave-owners
The first episode of the documentary based on LBS’s work originally broadcast in 2015, will be screened again on BBC4 . Both episodes have been reissued on BBC iplayer.
The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files
David Olusoga’s damning documentary detailing the ‘hostile environment’ created by successive British governments towards people of Caribbean descent can be seen on BBC iplayer.
Racism v anti-racism in Glasgow
Dutch Atlantic Connections, 1680-1800
In Dutch Atlantic Connections, 1680-1800: Linking Empires, Bridging Borders
Gert Oostindie, Leiden University and Jessica V. Roitman, Leiden University Dutch Atlantic Connections focuses ‘on the Dutch dimension of the integrated Atlantic World between 1680 and 1800. In recent years, it has increasingly become clear that Dutch activities in this Atlantic world were of far greater significance than historians hitherto assumed. This volume illustrates how Dutch networks functioned in the Atlantic and highlights the pivotal and, indeed, exceptional role of the Dutch in the Atlantic. The chapters present the economic function of the Dutch as middlemen and brokers who helped the Atlantic system operate by embedding themselves in the networks of other empires. This book also demonstrates the cultural impact of the Dutch in the Atlantic and of the Atlantic on the Dutch.’
Sites of Memory of Atlantic Slavery in European Towns with an Excursus on the Caribbean
‘For a long time, the impact of Atlantic slavery on European societies was discussed in academic circles, but it was no part of national, regional and local histories. In the last three decades this has changed, at different rhythms in the former metropolises. The 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in France (1998) and the 200th anniversary of the prohibition of the slave trade in Great Britain (2007) opened the debates to the broader public. Museums and memorials were established, but they coexist with monuments to slave traders as benefactors of their town. In Spain and Portugal the process to include the remembrance of slavery in local and national history is developing more slowly, as the impact of slave trade on Spanish and Portuguese urbanization and in-dustrialization is little known, and the legacies of recent fascist dictatorships are not yet overcome. This article focuses on sites of commemoration and silent traces of slavery.;
Bruce Springstein’s Five Song ‘Playlist for the Trump Era’
Rock musicians are gunning for Donald Trump. The Rolling Stones have just announced they are going to take legal action if he does not stop using their music at his rallies. Bruce Springsteen’s interview about Donald Trump can be read at:
He has created a five-song “Playlist for the Trump Era” that’s available now on Spotify.
“Strange Fruit” — Billie Holiday
“The House I Live In” — Paul Robeson
“Made in America” — Jay Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean
“That’s What Makes Us Great” — Joe Grushecky and the Houerockers with Bruce Springsteen
“People Have the Power” — Patti Smith
The BBC and Black Classical Music
In the posting on I mentioned that the composer Shirley Thompson had been involved in the BB3 consultation Manchester. Shirley reminds me that she not only participated in the BBC Diversity Panel, but was on the steering committee conceiving the event in my role as the Classical Exec from the Ivors Academy. Her contribution at the Conference was focused on celebrating the legacy of composers of African descent from John Blanke (c1490) to the present day which can be seen at:
The symposium was very much focused on performers. Shirley says ‘Now the BBC et al are realising the importance of the historical legacy and are busily making radio & TV docs.
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
It is important that we understand the history of the song that is used by English rugby fans.
George Floyd, Mental Health & COVID – A View from Canada
Habiba studied in Britain, and her mother is Professor Afua Cooper, a leading historian of Black Canada.
The Debate About Statues in the United States
Lloyds Apologises For Its Past – The Zong Case
Black History in the USA
John Weldon Johnston
When he visited Britain in 1905 Johnson met Coleridge-Taylor and attended a concert with him.
Celebrating Juneteenth: The Legacy of Frederick Douglass
Video discussion between Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. and David W. Blight (GLC)
Georgetown’s History of Blackface Minstrelsy Documentary
Georgetown University students research their blackface performance racist past
The Legacy of Lynching
Most of the information in the section is from the Yale University Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition Newsletter 22 June.
The Legacies of British Slave-ownership team have drawn attention to
It includes detailed document based sections: Ronnie Hughes: Barbadian Sugar Plantations 1640 to 1846, Barbados Plantations and Sugar-Works 1912 – 1924 and The Printed Maps of Barbados 1500 – 1900.
Jamaica Ladies. Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain’s Atlantic Empire
Christine Walker’s hardback book version is published on 30 June.