Enslavement: Voices from the Archives
This free exhibition at the Lambeth Palace Library examines the historic links between Queen Anne’s Bounty (one of the Church Commissioners’ predecessors) and transatlantic chattel slavery.
As a result of the transatlantic slavery economy, enslavement, and disease, Indigenous populations were virtually wiped out. It is believed that of the 12 million Africans enslaved and transported to the Caribbean and Americas between 1500 and 1900, only around 10 million reached their destination. The effects and legacy of slavery are visible to this day.
The role of the Church of England in the transatlantic slavery economy was complex and varied. Enslaved people were not allowed basic Christian rights in case these rights damaged the property and legal rights of slave owners. Missionaries sent to work in the Caribbean and the Americas documented the harsh conditions of daily life on the plantations and some voices were raised against enslavement.
In this small but powerful exhibition letters, books and documents from the Library’s collection are displayed to show some of the links between the Church of England and transatlantic slavery.
Amongst these are rare letters written by enslaved people, and letters and books presenting contrasting views on the rights of enslaved people from both within the Church and from missionaries working in the Caribbean and the Americas. These documents also present the arguments put forward using the Church’s teaching at the time both for and against the abolition of slavery.
LECTURES AT LAMBETH PALACE LIBRARY
Running alongside the exhibition there is a series of free lectures at the library by leading academics exploring the history of the transatlantic slave trade.
These lectures are free but you must register for a ticket online in advance. Book to attend lectures at Lambeth Palace Library here.
8 Feb 5:30pm–7pm Professor Catherine Hall (UCL): ‘Making White and Black: Edward Long slave-owner and historian of Jamaica’
15 Feb 5:30pm–7pm Dr Helen Paul (University of Southampton): ‘The South Sea Company and Enslavement’
13 Mar 5:30pm–7pm Professor Trevor Burnard (University of Hull): ‘The Black Presence in Transatlantic Slavery Archives’
15 Mar 6pm – 7:30pm Desirée Baptiste: Incidents in the Life of an Anglican Slave. A staged reading inspired by a rare 1723 letter found in the Lambeth Palace archives from an anonymous enslaved Virginian to the ‘Lord arch Bishop of London.
When & Where
WHEN: Until 4 April, 2023
OPEN: Mon–Fri 9.30am–5pm, and on Sat 4 March, Sat 1 April
WHERE: 15 Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7JT. The library is located opposite Evelina Children's Hospital (part of the St Thomas' Hospital complex), a short walk from Waterloo or Westminster tube stations.
Find Lambeth Palace Library using Google Maps.