The Windrush Foundation has won initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for project ‘LIBERATION 1838’, it was announced today!

The project will mark the 175th anniversary of the August 1838 liberation of nearly a million African people in the Caribbean. It is also about celebrating those who resisted enslavement, those who fought to end it, and others who worked in Britain and the Caribbean for a better social, economic, and political situation for Caribbean people. Liberation 1838 will also research the key social, economic and cultural stories leading up to the hundreds of thousands of migrants to the UK from 1948 (the Windrush era).

Development funding of £31,500 has been awarded to help Windrush Foundation to progress their plans to apply for a full grant in 2012.

The anniversary especially remembers unsung heroes like Sam Sharpe (Baptist lay pastor, in 1820s Jamaica), and Paul Bogle (Baptist deacon, in 1860s Jamaica). Exhibitions, workshops and educational material, etc will present information on key 1820s activists in the Caribbean and Britain, the British Parliamentary Debates of the 1830s, the social, economic and cultural situation in the Caribbean on and soon after 1 August 1838, the situation there up to and after 1865 (including the Morant Bay massacre and the debates about conditions in Jamaica, and the Caribbean as a whole). At the time, contributors to the debates included John Bright, Charles Darwin, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Huxley, Thomas Hughes and Herbert Spencer (in support of the Caribbean Africans) and opposing them were individuals like Thomas Carlyle, Rev. Charles Kingsley, Charles Dickens, and John Ruskin.

The project, which will be based in the London Borough of Southwark, will conduct historical research into the main incidents that led to the passing of the 1833 Emancipation Act, and which led to the liberation of Africans in the Caribbean in 1838. The project will create a website, prepare education material, hold community workshops and symposiums and present two educational exhibitions (temporary and touring in 2013) that tell the stories of liberation and legacies, using original documents, objects, and graphic panels. The touring exhibitions will visit Libraries, and other venues. Project information will be on-line, and in social media/networks. Project workers will consult with members of London’s communities, seek their support for the programmes and activities. We believe that an understanding and appreciation of this history and heritage will assist the development of identity, and foster better race and community relations.

Sam King MBE, co-founder of the Windrush charity and a former mayor of Southwark, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. The project will bring to the attention of the public what happened in 1838 as many thousands of African people in the Caribbean left sugar plantations, looking forward to living their lives in peace and freedom from former slave masters’ whips. Also, we wish to let our young people here know about the contributions that their ancestors made to the prosperity and well-being of Britain.”

Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London said: “We’re extremely pleased to give initial support to the Windrush Foundation for their project, and we look forward to receiving the application for a full grant in the future.

LIBERATION 1838 will be delivered by researchers, activities co-ordinators, and community volunteers, and Windrush Foundation now welcomes the interests of individuals who wish to contribute their expertise and experience to the project. The Foundation will be contacting community organisations, local state schools, supplementary schools, Faith Groups, Youth Groups, Black Elders, and others with a view to obtaining their support and collaboration.

For further information, call or text: 077 3727 1437   email:  


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