The Last Best Hope? Understanding America from the Outside In
The From Slavery to Snowdonia Episode
Series 3 (Hilary term 2021)
Published 11 February 2021
NB the text below was transcribed automatically by https://otter.ai.
Reading: Leeds Mercury 00:05
We understand Frederick Douglass, the fugitive American slave is expected to deliver lectures on American slavery in Leeds the week after next. Mr. Douglas is a noble specimen of physical, intellectual manhood. And we have no doubt his lectures will excite the same interest in Leeds, which they have done in Belfast, Liverpool, Edinburgh and other places. Leeds Mercury, Saturday the 12th of December 1846.
Adam Smith 00:46
Hello, and welcome to the last best hope, the podcast that looks at America from the outside in. My name's Adam Smith. The speaker being announced by that leads newspaper in 1846. Frederick Douglass was born into enslavement in Maryland in 1818, and went on to become the most famous black advocate for the abolition of slavery in the Victorian age. In 1846, as you've heard, he visited the British Isles. This was the first of several visits. His own escape from enslavement gave him the authenticity that white audiences craved. And it wasn't just the big cities like London or Leeds that he travelled, but to Cockermouth, Cullercoats and Kolkata and even more out of the way places across the British Isles. his speeches combined horror and humour, pathos and passion. He demanded that slavery be laid bare, so the mask from this abominable system would be exposed to the light and would burn and wither it out of existence. Douglass was probably the most successful but he was by no means the only black abolitionist who came to Britain in the years leading up to and after the American Civil War. Hannah Rose Marie of the University of Edinburgh has written a brilliant book called Advocates of Freedom, which analyses this incredibly extensive transatlantic black abolitionist activism. She also has a website which I recommend, http://frederickdouglassinbritain.com/, which among other things contains incredible maps showing where and when meetings with black abolitionists were held. Abraham Lincoln thought the US was the last best hope of Earth. But Douglass flattered his British audiences by telling them that it was they who lived in the land of the free. When I spoke to Hannah Rose Murray, I began by asking her about the impact of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in the 1830s. We should remember, of course, that it was accompanied by a massive appropriation of tax money to pay compensation to slaveholders, with no provision for the future status of the formerly enslaved. But even so, did British emancipation, lead black abolitionists in America to see Britain as a city on the hill, you might even say, whose example showed the way for America. Was that why black abolitionists made the journey across the Atlantic.
Hannah-Rose Murray 03:20
It's not the sole reason. So the first sort of lectures by black Americans were being given as early as 1833 1834 by folks like Nathaniel Paul and James McKean, Smith. And then you have Moses Roper, who was really the first African American to publish a slave narrative in England in 1837. And then he led an extensive tour over the following years. But as you say, that context is really, really important because you have the end of the slave trade in 1807, the end of slavery in the British Empire by the end of the 1830s. And another key date, actually is 1839. Because that's when you have the organisation of the British and foreign anti slavery society, which was committed to trying to build on sort of Britain's success, although we'll put that in inverted commas to try and abolish slavery in the US and Brazil, Cuba, and throughout the world and African Americans as well at this early stage, but really, throughout the 19th century, we're building on the success of a former black abolitionists like Olaudah Equiano and Ignatius Sancho in the 18th century, and, and also married prints in the 19th century. But this particular reason of why they were coming in the early 1830s was, as you say, to sort of build on the sort of growing momentum of anti slavery, and there was a small network of abolitionists that could support them. And Moses Roper, I just mentioned, obviously publishes a slave narrative, but he also actually comes to Britain for safety. He, he comes to Britain because he is understandably terrified that he's going to be re enslaved by by his enslavers. But it's really the 1840s when African Americans start coming in in higher numbers because there's this sort of huge, larger network of abolitionists. And just to focus quickly on a couple other reasons, actually, what I'm talking about is that they were publishing slave narratives as early as the late 1830s and early 1840s. And the literary and commercial success of those narratives is something that we don't necessarily talk about, particularly on this British side. But there were often outselling, famous Victorian authors that we, that we know today, but they, they are encouraging British and Irish audiences to sign petitions practice non fellowship with enslavers and slaveholding, churches to raise money for the illegal purchase of themselves or family members, and also to sort of encourage the boycott of slave produced goods, which was something that British abolitionists had a lot of experience sort of throughout the 18th and early 19th century.
Adam Smith 05:42
Yeah, you've touched on so many interesting issues. There, Hannah-Rose. Can we just talk about Moses Roper, who, who you mentioned there, because I think from reading your book that it seems like he was perhaps the first big name, black American abolitionist, he's perhaps not someone who people have heard of today, but he had quite an impact when he came over. Can you just tell us a little bit about him? And what he did when he came over to the British Isles what he was trying to do and how he was received?
Hannah-Rose Murray 06:19
Yeah, sure. So Moses Roper is often a figure that has been, quite frankly, sidelined in a lot of academic circles. And obviously, just I think, society, you know, this is a bold, radical abolitionist and author, survivor of us slavery, who spoke out against slavery in four different countries, in Britain, Ireland, Canada, and the US as well. And he came over to Britain, he came in 1835. He actually was one of the first students at university, London University College London, I should say. And he started lecturing in 1836. And when he published his slave narrative over the next sort of eight to 10 years, he sold upwards of 38,000 copies of his narrative, including 5000 copies purely in the Welsh language. And he travelled extensively around Britain and Ireland. I mean, his lecturing tour is quite frankly, staggering. He lectures not only in sort of the cities that we would associate with abolition or just lecturing, you know, like Leeds and Birmingham and Edinburgh and, and places like that. But he goes as far up as Inverness, and you know, in Scotland and Penzance and Cornwall and he speaks in Llanberis at the foot of Snowdonia, just these amazing, amazing locations. And he's often sidelined. I think, because when Frederick Douglass appears in 1845, obviously he like he's such a successful tour that I think some of the early visitors in comparison get forgotten about. But Roper was, he did lead a very successful tour, but nowhere near the success in terms of Frederick Douglass and I think what's really fascinating and inspiring about him is that he was really uncompromising. In his descriptions of slavery and violence, he was unafraid of challenging white fragility. Whereas sometimes Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists kind of played that balance of performance when so.
Adam Smith 08:16
So tell us more about that. Hannah rose. I mean, let's just imagine a situation in Inverness, or in some rural Welsh village, and the year is 1830...
Hannah-Rose Murray 08:30
Adam Smith 08:33
Presumably, these are places where the people coming to this performance, have probably never seen a black person before. And what what do they see when they come into this into the town hall? Or the meeting room? Or the or the chapel where he's performing? What what's the experience? like? What does he What does he do? What does he expect of the audience?
Hannah-Rose Murray 08:59
Yeah, that's a great question. So I think depending on where he was speaking, I just add a caveat is that there would have been some audiences that would have seen a person of colour before but again, in certain rural locations, it's possible that they would not have seen a person of colour. So there's an element of entertainment, sort of a local form of entertainment for the local community to go and watch this lecture. There are sometimes hundreds of people crammed into this chapel to hear him speak. Sometimes, depending again, depending on the location, hundreds of people are turned away for one of admission because literally people are cramming down the aisles and a desperate
Adam Smith 09:34
Did people have to pay?
Hannah-Rose Murray 09:37
Depending on the venue... So churches and chapels no. If there was a town hall, sometimes there will be a fee. And again, depending on the audience that fee would relate to. So for example, if they're speaking to specifically working class audiences, that'd be discounted or sometimes free entrance. So there's that kind of distinction, but yes, so people if they're going into a church or chapel, they're obviously cramming into this church and Moses Roper is introduced to the community. And he speaks sometimes between two and three hours. And he is talking about, obviously, what US slavery is. And as I was mentioning earlier, in terms of this sort of, he's really uncompromising when he talks about slavery. Moses very for someone who experienced vicious and horrific torture for many years of his life, he tries to escape slavery between 16 and 20 times by his count, before he's able to actually escape. So he talks a lot about those escape attempts and how cruel and barbaric slavery is. He also exhibits weapons of torture, so he brings along whips and chains sometimes actually puts them on to demonstrate how they would have worked. And his didn't sort of the newspaper correspondent in terms of the coverage of his lectures are you know, the the phrases they use are there's sensation of horror, you know, there are gasps in the audience when obviously that, you know, rape or is exhibiting these incidents of torture, but also describing how they were used in graphic graphic detail.
Adam Smith 11:07
People are shocked by this. There's a but there's a kind of prurience. There's a kind of fascination, there's a kind of Is there a sort of pornography of violence going on here? I mean, what, what do you imagine the audience for these performances are are taking away from it from them?
Hannah-Rose Murray 11:28
It's an interesting question, because I would love to be able to have a time machine and go back and obviously ask people directly. And sometimes the only accounts we have are from newspaper correspondence. And what's interesting is that they sometimes describe how these instruments of torture work in the same graphic detail. And they describe how they would have how whips would have been lashed on someone's back, you know, with the clothes ripping off, you know, just this, I think pornographic is actually a word that is relevant in lots of different different cases. And I think, as I mentioned, there's obviously there's a sensation of horror as well. And sometimes, because Roper is so graphic in his descriptions, you get people crying, people, you know, obviously, he's speaking to predominantly white audiences, they physically cannot understand how violent slavery is. And obviously, Roper is trying to tell them that but he even says in his lectures, you physically can't get it because you are white. And also, you aren't, you know, you haven't been enslaved. And sometimes because of his graphic descriptions. And because he's unwilling to compromise in those graphic descriptions, he gets a lot of hate in the press. So there are a lot of newspaper correspondents in in numerous places, in parts of Wales, in Hampshire, and in parts of Ireland, as well, where a newspaper newspaper correspondent actually accused him of memorising accounts of the Spanish Inquisition, because they just believe that he is recounting all of these instances of torture that never happened. And obviously, that's sort of a longer sort of white racist schemer, who has audiences that they physically can't comprehend what Roper is saying, of course, that doesn't exist. And again, because of racial stereotypes, that sometimes people of colour are prone to lying, okay, he's lying about all of these, these torture devices. And also just to say, when Roper is in Hampshire, he talks about how some of these instruments of torture are used. And he basically talks about how he bought some chains in Birmingham, and the year previously, in 1838, so the newspaper correspondent in Hampshire uses that to say, well, these chains aren't actually being used in the US, he's just bought them in Birmingham. And he's, he's lying about that. And obviously, what Roper is trying to do is that this is an example the copy of what would be used in the US, but obviously, that he is attacked for that.
Adam Smith 13:44
So even though he was brutally abused in enslavement, his authenticity is continually being challenged by at least some of his audience or some of those reporting on on what he's on what he's doing. And do you think that that reaction to Roper influenced Frederick Douglass, who you also mentioned earlier, and who has a much much better known example of a black American abolitionist, when Frederick Douglass came to Britain, and he came numerous times, didn't he? Did he? Did he, as it were learn from ropers experience and try a different strategy?
Hannah-Rose Murray 14:32
Yeah, it's an interesting, interesting question, because I don't know how well, Frederick Douglass was aware of Roper’s lectures and also the response. But I think essentially, what is interesting is the comparison between the performances of both. So when Roper is talking about what are these graphic descriptions, sometimes he has people in his meetings say, I don't believe you, no one can be whipped up many times and survive. And then Roper essentially says I'll take you outside and show you myself. Sometimes that's sort of met with laughter. Sometimes it's a little bit difficult to tell whether that is met with laughter, but he's essentially sometimes alienating his audiences. Frederick Douglass talks about incredibly graphic violence. He talks about lynching, he talks about the whipping of Aunt Hester, for example, obviously this pivotal moment in his slave narrative. But he doesn't all that he doesn't necessarily all the time go into the same amount of graphic detail Moses Roper is doing in every single speech, laying out all the graphic details of lynching, whereas Frederick Douglass doesn't do that. And I think when he's challenged, because Douglass himself is challenged, you know, he gets cause of inauthenticity. But what's really fascinating about him is that if he's interrupted, or if someone challenges him, he's really good at turning the tables on this person. So all the audience are, instead of being alienated are kind of on Douglas aside against the person that's challenging Douglas in his lecture. To do this, you do that? Yeah. So to give you an example, so he's in London in 1846. And he's giving a speech at Finsbury chapel, and someone essentially shouts from the audience, interrupts them and says, What's the price of a good slave? That's a quote. And instantly, Douglas replies, the price of a slave in Louisiana is matched by the price of a pound of cotton in Manchester. And it causes a lot of laughter, but it kind of diffuses the tension a little bit, and completely shuts this person up. And then 10, 15 minutes later, the same person and you know, interrupts and says, You know, I don't necessarily believe you. And Douglas is reading some quotes from Southern newspapers talking about slave auctions and runaway slave advertisements, essentially. And he sort of gives another advertisement and he sort of directly says, you know, do you need another example of facts in order the audience audience sort of shouting? No. And there's a few people shouting, yes, one more, which is sort of due to the gifts. So he is just a different. He's, Frederick Douglass is such a charismatic, and brilliant performer, an actor. And he's able to sort of incorporate those interruptions into his into a part of his lectures without necessarily alienating his audiences, if that makes sense.
Adam Smith 17:03
Hmm. And you talked there about Frederick Douglass being an actor. There are some examples in your book, and I'm thinking particularly of Henry "Box" Brown, who, who literally act right who performs in plays, about some of which are about his own life dramatisations of his own life in which he's acting himself. Can you talk about that and what that why some black abolitionists took it to that extreme or went down that route of of dramatising the events of that they wish to convey.
Hannah-Rose Murray 17:39
So I think it's important to say that all African Americans were performers and actors in their own way, because essentially, they were, and there are people of colour speaking to predominately white audiences. So there has to be some kind of element of performance there as well. But what's really interesting is that while all African American American activists were coming over to Britain and Ireland to sort of inform the public about slavery, there were different ways of informing the public about slavery. So you had sort of this sort of traditional anti slavery lecturing route where you would have someone like Frederick Douglass or Moses Roper going on very long lecturing tours. But they were also exhibiting paintings and panoramas, and singing songs, and just a huge, huge variety of performance and resistance techniques really. And Henry box Brown is an interesting figure because he completely spurns these sort of traditional anti slavery, lecturing routes, he is very much an entertainer, he's a performer, he's escaped from slavery. So he essentially puts himself in a box from just outside of Richmond to Philadelphia. And he knows from very, very early stage, no pun intended, that this is going to be a very, very sort of entertaining way of informing the public about slavery. And he brings that box with him to Britain, it's exhibited, you know, countless times all the way around Britain. And he, because he's such a flexible performer, he kind of tries to go with the time. So he, he understands that To try and reach people about slavery, there are going to be some people who don't want to go or not interested in going to an anti slavery lecture. So he experiments with trying to find different audiences, he specifically goes out to speak to working class audiences and children, he creates, obviously, this huge panorama, this big painting, he incorporates images of Uncle Tom's Cabin, to sort of exploit the interest around that novel. And in 1857, as you say, he stars in three plays, two of which have an anti slavery theme, and one of them is completely based on his own life with a couple of details that have changed. And he knows that that audience in Margate in Kent on where a lot of that audience might not necessarily want to attend an anti slavery lecturing tour, but that play is is very, very abolitionists.
Adam Smith 19:44
So by the time the American civil war breaks out in 1861, there have been black American abolitionists, touring Britain for 30 years. Presumably, that makes a difference to how British people understand the war.
Hannah-Rose Murray 20:01
I would say yes. And Richard Blackett has a brilliant book on this divided hearts. And he talks a lot about how a lot of the lectures, you know, by these African Americans, either before the war and during the war go quite a long way in sort of informing the public about slavery. And I think it's difficult because it's not necessarily that the sort of grassroots activism would have prevented the British government if they did want to sort of formally recognise the Confederacy. But there was a lot of grassroots support for these African Americans. But at the same time, there is a lot of division between supporters, you know, people supporting the union and people supporting the Confederacy, you have, as you know, like Confederate envoys and supporters going around to try and drum up support for the Confederacy. But what African Americans had in common is that, you know, regardless of why they came to Britain, there were specific reasons why some folks traveled over, you know, during the Civil War, they were all going around and lecturing, and essentially saying that the Confederacy stood for slavery, it stands for white supremacy, you cannot support the Confederacy if you stand for freedom. And again, in these locations that had been directly affected, very directly affected by the war in terms of famine and the cotton blockade, that was very difficult, because there was no sort of unanimous support for, for the union.
Adam Smith 21:15
And I want to ask you a little bit about this notion of the so called moral capital that Britain had accrued from the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, how important was that sense of kind of moral superiority among British audiences.
Hannah-Rose Murray 21:32
So I think it's really important because it's still, you know, this narrative of superiority and sort of patriotism around this is still with us today, we focus on US police brutality, instead of British institutionalised racism a lot even now. So in the 19th century, it was still exactly the same. And a lot of the newspaper coverage of black abolitionist lectures, really mentioned, obviously, about British abolition, how US us slavery was the sort of foul blot on transatlantic relationships in the world as a whole. And as you mentioned, black abolitionists, you know, play to this as part of their performative technique, because by mentioning the success of British abolition, you're going to have a successful meeting, you're going to have people come in, listen to you, you're not going to have a very successful meeting. If you stand there for two and a half hours, and attack white people for all of that length of time, even though they would probably deserve it, they would deserve it, about the kind of hypocrisy around British abolition. And obviously, there's this sort of displacement narrative that takes place where the Britain deliberately and performatively focuses on us slavery, it's far easier and more comfortable to deal with us slavery, then think about, you know, their own history of colonialism and the violence going on in the Caribbean. And the fact that slavery did still exist in some parts of the British Empire Empire. But this is really emphasised after the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s sort of infamous anti slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. And, and Sarah Mayer has also written a lot about this. And, you know, it's that, again, is sort of focused on us slavery, you've got all these dramatic productions of Uncle Tom's Cabin, which include British figures like Britannia, sort of saying, oh, the fugitive now, you know, escaped to Canada, and we welcome them, and we welcome them to Britain and all of this patriotic language. But what's fascinating as well is that, again, because of this performance, African Americans are really creating a balance between this. So sometimes in Frederick Douglass included would say, you know, obviously, well done for abolishing slavery, trade and in abolition, you know, we look to you, because you're one of the first people first nations that did this, etc, etc. But slavery wouldn't exist in the US if it wasn't because of Britain, you have a moral duty to do something, you know, and Moses Roper and William Craft, actually, in two different instances, sort of won in the 1830s. And in the late 1850s, for William Craft, is it they both say, I would not be enslaved if it wasn't for the history of Britain, specifically. And then you have folks like Reverend Samuel Ringgold Ward, who has a brilliant brilliant quote, which I love and quite quite a lot is that he says, to your audience in 1854, you know, since the Tudor times the English soil is reddened with the blood of my race. And in this particular speech, he talks about how by 1854 people aren't fussed about Uncle Tom's Cabin anymore, because that sort of his died down a little bit. You know, the crazies died down a little bit. And he also talks specifically in the speech about how the British government completely ignores black British sailors who are docking in American ports like Savannah and Charleston, and they're being sold into slavery and the British government literally does nothing about it. And he's saying that you're calling yourself a free nation, you're celebrating British abolition, but you're not actually living up to those principles of freedom. And just to say, you know, finally, activists were well aware that Britain was built on the wealth of slavery and the slave trade. John Sella Martin talks about this particularly during the American Civil War and Ida B Wells Barnett writes this blistering history of Liverpool where she essentially says the wealth of every brick in the city is made from the slave trade how Confederate ships as you know, were built there during the Civil War and how the city and a nation as a whole have this sort of collective amnesia surrounding Britain's dark and very violent history against people of colour.
Adam Smith 25:21
You mentioned Uncle Tom's Cabin, one of the one of the reasons why Uncle Tom's Cabin was so powerful at the time was because of the centering of family life, so was putting at the centre of the horror of slavery, as it were a kind of middle class Victorian ideal of the nurturing family bonds and showing how, under enslavement, these were destroyed. And that prompts me to ask you about gender. And we've been talking so far about male black abolitionists. But in your book, you have also uncovered these incredible stories of female black American abolitionists, both in the early part of the 19th century, but also after the Civil War, and after the end of slavery in the United States. How did a female performance differ from those of a male performance? What were the different strategies which these female lecturers could employ?
Hannah-Rose Murray 26:32
So, obviously, yeah, as you mentioned, I'm mainly talking about men. And it's really, really important to highlight the contributions of black women to and because of Victorian racial and gender dynamics, you know, the woman's place, essentially, was the domestic sphere, it was the home. So when black women spoke or appeared on stage, they were facing very, very different barriers to their male counterparts. So you have Sarah Parker Remond, who gave a very successful lecturing tour in the late 1850s and early 1860s. She was one of the few women who was able to do this, she had a lot of support from British women's groups as well. She revives anti slavery societies. She lectures alongside Frederick Douglass actually on his returned to Britain in 1859. And she appears before the club, the public in a sort of plea for sisterhood in a way, where she urges women in particular, you know, in the audiences to join anti slavery societies put a lot of moral pressure on their communities, and I'll see those in the US. And she also talks about sexual violence against women. She also talks about the case of Margaret Garner, you know, activists, sort of male activist sometimes recounted stories of violence against nameless women, you know, in a kind of performance of masculinity as well. And, and Roman is one of the few women who were able to sort of stand on a platform and actually challenge this sort of name some of those women and offer a kind of more personal and intimate approach into the lives of what an enslaved woman faced. And Ellen Craft has a very different approach. She actually arrived in England much earlier. So from the end of 1849, she did give a couple of lectures in the US. But she actually chose to sort of remain have a sort of silent presence on the British stage, which was a deliberate performative technique I've seen some folks describe her as being very passive, which I find insulting to her memory, because it was a deliberate performance and technique to use her figure to use her body to illustrate the barbarities of slavery, and then was described as near white, she had a very fair complexion, because of her because her mother was raped by her enslaver. And, you know, when she stood up in front of her audiences, she wanted people to recognise that but just to sort of finish up and say that it's it is really important to mention women and how the archive often raises and invisible izes the contributions of black women or sort of frames their bodies through sort of violence, essentially. And we have to try and find lots of different sources to recover their voices and their testimony from this sort of fractured archive of anti slavery. And the other activists I mentioned in the book, Julia Jackson is a really important example of this. I mean, we really don't know a lot about her. And the small glimpses that we have in the newspapers are very much. So they're framed through her husband's john Andrew Jackson, because the very likely male newspaper correspondent is giving a long coverage of her husband, and then a lot of examples where Mrs. Jackson stood up and gave a speech. And that's it. So those are the challenges that obviously, we're facing.
Adam Smith 29:27
Finally, I just want to ask you a little bit about what the longer term legacy of all this is, or perhaps To put it another way, what the resonances are between today and the 19th century because we still live in a time where there are powerful connections and echoes and interactions between Britain and the United States, especially in relation to questions of racial justice. Often, it seems to me that questions about race in Britain are often seen reflected refracted through the lens of our perception of what is the situation in the United States and strategies that are deployed the Black Lives Matter movement being example, strategies that are deployed in the United States are kind of adapted or adopted directly in a British context. So do you see Hannah-Rose this as a kind of part of an even longer transatlantic story?
Hannah-Rose Murray 30:37
Absolutely. I should also say as well, you know, we've had a year of Black Lives Matter protests, and we're also still living in a pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting people of colour, right. And one of my favourite phrases from Frederick Douglass is that he gave to a Leeds audience in 1859. And he said, there can be no peace where there is injustice. And obviously, that's something that was relevant. When he said it in 1859. You know, in the civil rights movement, obviously, you know, there are links to Martin Luther King, and obviously, other activists there. And also, right now, you know, the legacies of Slavery and Justice around us, as you say. So it's no surprise really, that the words and testimonies of survivors of slavery and racism, you know, are still very relevant. And I think what's really interesting is when I give a lot of talks about these sort of parallels, because that's a lot of the questions I sometimes get asked, and I specifically focus on Frederick Douglass, but also Moses Roper, because his life story is so relevant in lots of ways. And I hope I've got across that today. But our discussions of racism and brutality today, whether it's in the US or the UK, is often that black testimony and violence against black bodies is often ignored, downplayed, rejected and visualised. And Roper’s case actually teaches us about white fragility, how white people instead of becoming allies actually reject like testimony because it's far more comfortable to believe those horrors don't exist even when there's a video of, of such violence. And and those sorts of videos and photographs, obviously, you link back to it. Well, it was Barnett's case, obviously with with lynching, you know, those parallels between the lynchings that Ida B. Wells Barnett talks about in the US and and in Britain are still relevant. You know, we have Mike Brown's body when he was murdered by polices left in the street for four hours, you know, makeshift memorials to him were driven over by police twice, you know, that kind of disrespect and injustice obviously, is very much and still with us today. So one of my hopes from the book because I do talk about the Black Lives Matter movement and how Black Lives Matter activists actually travelled over to, to Britain, and 2015 is that, you know, there's a trajectory between activists in the 19th century and obviously now, but actually, you know, it's recognising how far we still have to go to accomplish their anti racist missions.
Adam Smith 32:54
Hannah-Rose, thank you so much, indeed. And congratulations on your book, which is called Advocates of Freedom, African American transatlantic abolitionism in the British Isles, I've got it here. And it's I mean, it's, it's filled with, it's just a extraordinary wealth of detailed research that you've done. And I would urge people as well as encouraging them to to read your book if they can, too, as well to go to your website and look at the, the, the mapping exercise you've, you've done, which, which just shows the sheer scale of this. I mean, it really is a great example of a kind of brilliant piece of recovery, of historical research of a whole kind of wealth of experience, which which you have uncovered, which we may most people I don't think are probably aware of. But thank you very much indeed for this conversation. Hannah rose.
Hannah-Rose Murray 33:50
Thank you, Adam. Appreciate it.
Adam Smith 33:51
Hannah-Rose Murray, whose book Advocates of Freedom has been published by Cambridge University Press. The story of the mass enslavement of black people and the struggle to end that enslavement is one that binds together Britain and America. After the revolution, slavery in the British Empire and in the newly independent United States went off on different trajectories for structural political reasons that campaigns for abolition followed different paths. But in both countries, abolitionists could appeal to the contrast between a self conception as a land of liberty and the reality of slavery. You've been listening to the last best hope podcast produced by the RAI, Oxford University's Centre for the study of the United States and its place in the world. If you've enjoyed this episode, please listen to the many others on Apple or Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Adam Smith. Goodbye.