Black History Month: Belfast and the Slave Trade

2020-10-23T15:07:51+00:00

As part of Black History Month we have previously explored the story of Equiano, the freed slave and abolitionist, and William John Brown , an enslaved man who found freedom in Belfast. This article explores the abolitionist and pro-slavery elements within the town of Belfast in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Belfast had many wealthy merchants who owned land, estates and businesses in the West Indies in the 18th and 19th Centuries. As was the practice at the time, these estates and businesses would have exploited slave labour to harvest crops such as sugar and tobacco. Waddell Cunningham, a member [...]

Black History Month: Belfast and the Slave Trade2020-10-23T15:07:51+00:00

Black History Month: William John Brown and his escape from slavery

2020-10-12T11:29:04+00:00

In August 1830 William John Brown appeared before the magistrate at the Belfast Police Court. Mr Brown, a black American slave, entered the courtroom accompanied by members of the Society of Friends. Newspaper reports describe him as looking crestfallen and physically frail- the fifty-year-old slowly took the stand and was said to have recounted his story in a feeble voice. William was enslaved as a young man in Virginia, but had worked his way out of bondage and received his papers of freedom. Now a free man he got married and had five children and settled in Baltimore, Maryland. However, in 1826 [...]

Black History Month: William John Brown and his escape from slavery2020-10-12T11:29:04+00:00

Black History Month: Samuel Neilson, Equiano and Belfast Charitable Society

2020-10-23T08:19:45+00:00

In the first of this series of articles for Black History Month we are looking at Samuel Neilson and Olaudah Equiano, one of the first black abolitionists to visit Ireland. Equiano himself had been born in Africa and kidnapped into slavery at the age of ten or eleven and was forced to become a sailor. It was said that an Irish man encouraged him to learn to read and write and ultimately he managed to save enough money to purchase his freedom. As a first generation enslaved person, Equiano knew of traditional customs in his homeland and could speak to the [...]

Black History Month: Samuel Neilson, Equiano and Belfast Charitable Society2020-10-23T08:19:45+00:00
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