On the evening of 20 January 2021, Belfast Charitable Society will launch a new Foundation to raise awareness of the life and legacy of one of our city’s most important, yet least recognised, abolitionists, philanthropists and social reformers – MARY ANN MCCRACKEN.

It is more than fitting that the Society has managed to secure, as the key note, Professor David Olusoga – straight from his ‘Talk with President Obama’.

In what promises to be an excellent event Professor Olusoga will talk about the ‘Legacies of Slavery’ – a subject he has extensively researched, written and broadcasted on for many years.

His passion, knowledge and expertise will be drawn-out by the event’s host, Sir Ronnie Weatherup, the recently retired Lord Justice who has been the Society’s President since 2018.

The calibre and profile of both again reflect the esteem in which Mary Ann should be held 250 years after her birth. Living to the ripe old age of 96 she was a fierce proponent of the poor of Belfast, children, women and workers’ rights, as well as having a keen interest in global matters and fighting for the cause of the slaves in America.

Norma Sinte, Chair of the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation, explained “This event is not only the official launch of the Foundation but also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Mary Ann McCracken, a well-known abolitionist, who throughout her life handed out anti-slavery leaflets at the docks in Belfast.  We were delighted when Professor Olusoga agreed to speak on some of the issues facing our society today as a legacy of the slave trade, including modern day slavery and racism- issues which the Foundation will continue to raise awareness of locally through the projects and work we hope to support.

The virtual talk will be hosted by Belfast Charitable Society, which has a long history of supporting those disadvantaged in the city and beyond. And it is no coincidence that ‘Legacies of Slavery’ is being launched today (2nd December), which the United Nations recognises as the ‘International Day of the Abolition of Slavery’. Paula Reynolds, Belfast Charitable Society CEO added  “We anticipate a large demand for this event, both locally and further afield, and took the decision to put tickets on sale well in advance to accommodate as many people as possible. We are particularly excited that Professor Olusoga has agreed to spend time at the end to take questions from the virtual audience, a fantastic opportunity for those interested in this subject, and we would like to thank him again for this.”

Tickets for ‘Legacies of Slavery’ are available to book now- click here for more information