Slavery and abolition in London

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1 Slavery and abolition in London At your school support materials KS3 Citizenship & History

2 Contents National Curriculum links and session description 3 Practical guidelines 4 Visit preparation, pre-visit activities 5, 6, 7 Follow-up activities 8, 9

3 Curriculum links KS3 History and Citizenship This drama workshop has been designed to complement NC History KS3: The development of trade, colonisation, industrialisation and technology in the British Empire; NC Citizenship: Taking informed and responsible action. Critical questions will be raised and discussions will be held to help students better understand the time period. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the transatlantic slave trade and the growth of abolitionist sentiment. Session description Drama workshop This session will start with background information about the slave trade and its abolition in London. Students will then meet Robert Wedderburn, a fiery abolitionist determined to achieve equality for his people. This interactive drama will involve questioning, role play and discussion. Two staff will run the session. It will be lead by an educator who will introduce the session and lead the group s interaction with the actor who will play Robert Wedderburn. Visit preparation and follow-up work Before and after our visit It is recommended that teachers prepare students for this visit by working through at least one of the preparation activities suggested in this pack or any of your own devising. We have also provided follow-up activities and student source sheets that can be used to consolidate the museum experience. 1

4 Practical guidelines To maximise the enjoyment and value of the visit please consider the following: ensure that you have at least one adult for every 30 students please organise a space in which the actor can change please set up the room for the performance in advance of the visit responsible teachers should not leave the classroom or hall when the session is taking place please note that accompanying teachers and adults are responsible for students behaviour at all times during the session please fill in an evaluation form for the session and send it back to the museum either with the person who delivered the session or by post/ . Your feedback is very important to us and our funding depends on it. please organise a visit to the museum, now that you have benefited from our free outreach service! 2

5 Visit preparation activities Preparation To maximise the enjoyment and value of the visit please consider the following: introduce the group to some general background information about the Museum of London undertake at least one of the suggested pre-visit activities ask the group to think of some questions for the workshop leaders. Pre-visit activities The topic of the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition is complex and sensitive. Prior to students participation in the workshops it is important that they have some background knowledge and understanding of the origin of the slave trade. There are resources in the pre-visit activity section of this pack that will help prepare students. Due to the complex nature of the subject it is strongly recommended that these or similar orientation activities are conducted in the classroom prior to your session. 3

6 Activity one: Mapping slave trade stakeholders 1. Begin by asking students to determine who has to be involved in order for the slave trade to take place (i.e. Africans being sold/sent into slavery, Africans selling slaves to European traders, European slave traders, plantation owners that need slaves, consumers to buy goods from plantations that are worked by slaves, etc.). Make a class list of the stakeholders in the transatlantic slave trade. Given time, it is suggested students undertake independent research to determine the list, but you may also ask prompting questions to ensure that they consider all stakeholders. Questions might include: Who made slaves available to European traders? What made trade in slaves desirable for Africans? Why did European traders want slaves? Where did slaves who survived the voyage go? What type of work did they do? Who was profiting from the transatlantic slave trade? Europeans had a history of trade with West Africa (gold and ivory for example), what made the slave trade more profitable? 2. Ask students to individually create a map or diagram that shows the relationship between the stakeholders that have been identified. They can use drawings, text, arrows, etc. to represent the relationships, but all of the stakeholders must be included in the map. Ask students to discuss their maps in pairs. 3. Conclude by asking for several examples to be shared with the class and discussing the stakeholder relationships that the students have mapped out. Activity two: The cause of abolition 1. Begin by discussing what the term abolition means and defining it in relation to the transatlantic slave trade. Abolition can be defined as the act of abolishing a system or practice or institution. There were two waves of abolition efforts impacting the transatlantic slave trade, the first to end the slave trade (1807) and the second to end the institution of slavery itself (1833). 2. Assign pairs of students one of the following reasons for abolition categories: economic, social, religious, political. Ask the pairs to develop a list of reasons that an abolitionist from that viewpoint might use against the slave trade and slavery (i.e. economic reasons, religious reasons, etc). 3. Re-pair the students so that they are with someone from a different category and ask them to share the reasons they thought might be used to fight the abolitionist cause. 4. Discuss as a group what the arguments might be from the different viewpoints. Activity three: Robert Wedderburn s London 4

7 During the time that Wedderburn was living and writing in London he came into contact with a number of influences that will be explored in the introduction and drama. Wedderburn would have been confronted with a variety of religious sects, harsh new government acts, and the influences of international events. Prior to students meeting Wedderburn, they should become familiar with some of the elements of the London that he knew. 1. Divide students into research teams to focus on three main areas that affected Wedderburn: religion, government and international events. Specifically, ask students to research the following topics: a. Religion: Christian denominations that were prevalent at the time, including Methodism, Calvinism, Unitarianism b. Government: Gag Acts, Six Acts of 1819, Corn Laws c. International events: San Domingo Revolt (Haiti), Maroon Uprising (Jamaica) 2. Ask students to share their research with the rest of the class. Discuss how they think these three factors might have influence Wedderburn s writing and activism. After they ve had a chance to meet the character they can compare their initial thoughts with what they experienced. Follow-up activities for the classroom After the outreach session, the experience should be discussed and, where possible, extended upon. The following activities can help draw together the workshop themes. Activity one: Multiple approaches to abolition 1. The session illustrated the many different approaches that were taken to try to end the transatlantic slave trade. As a class or individually, ask students to complete an enlarged version of the following table, based on the abolitionists they were introduced to and any additional school lessons or texts. Suggested abolitionists are listed, but the table can be presented blank to students and they can fill in the appropriate names. ABOLITIONIST MAIN ARGUMENT AGAINST SLAVE TRADE APPROACH TO COMMUNICATING ARGUMENT 5

8 Olaudah Equiano Ignatius Sancho Robert Wedderburn Ottobah Cuguano William Wilberforce Thomas Clarkson Granville Sharp John Wesley 2. Using the completed table, ask students to select one abolitionist and write a critique of their efforts. This can include additional research into the individual and their beliefs. The critique should look at the positive and negative aspects of the abolitionist and how they pursued their cause. Activity two: London and the Transatlantic slave trade 1. The transatlantic slave trade had an economic impact on the port city of London. Ask students to respond to the question: How important was the slave trade for London as a port city? 2. Create a list of all the ways that London was impacted by the transatlantic slave trade, considering financial and social impact. This list can be generated by individuals or through class discussion. 3. Ask students to consider the perspective of one of the following late 18 th century Londoners and how they might have viewed the role of the transatlantic slave trade on their city. Roles might include: a worker on the docks, a member of Parliament, a servant in a wealthy family, store owner, or religious leader. They can share their perspective through writing, monologues, or class discussion. Activity three: Commemorating

9 1. As individuals or in groups, ask students to design a programme, publication, or website that they think would be effective to communicate the importance of 1807 to other students. Depending on the amount of time permitted, students could produce concept maps, drafts or mock-ups of their ideas to present to the class. 2. Encourage students to think about what and who should be remembered and why. It is also important for them to consider what would make the topic meaningful to other people their age and how they would encourage them to learn more. 7

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