Birmingham City Council

A Shared History, A Shared Future: Sankofa Walk

Shared History Shared Future
A Shared History, A Shared Futurecelebrates 200 years since the abolition of the slave trade.
Community based groups have been exploring the ways in which slavery in all its forms throughout history has operated, and how it relates to our lives in Birmingham.

Making Changes

A project with Chandos Primary and Christchurch Primary Schools

The Sankofa Reconciliation Walk was a challenging 470 miles journey over 40 days undertaken by the Lifeline Expedition..

It linked together the three major slave ports of London, Bristol and Liverpool and followed the route taken by Thomas Clarkson on his momentous journey in 1787. The Lifeline Expedition departed Birmingham in Yoke and Chains from Chamberlain Square, outside Birmingham Central Library, 11.30am on 19 June 2007.


We ran workshops in the Centre for the Child, Central Library

with Chandos Primary and Christchurch Primary Schools, lead by David Potts, Julie Becket, Graham Langley and Moazzam Begg, exploring Birminghams past and present links with slavery and the anti-slavery movement, through its production of guns, handcuffs, medallions and manilas.

Flintlock gun

This weapon is of a type made for slave traders to sell or trade with local chiefs in Africa. Hundreds of thousands of Birmingham-made guns were shipped to Africa and exchanged in trade for slaves. However, the guns were not always good quality in this case the gun is roughly made. It may have been made by Robert Wheeler.


Token coin

This token coin, struck at Matthew Boulton Soho Mint, marks the parliamentary abolition of the slave trade. It was produced seven years later in 1814. It shows two men and bears the slogan e are all brethren It was used as currency by colony in Sierra Leone run by a private trading company, Macaulay & Babington. One of the founders, Zachary Macaulay, was a leading figure in the abolitionist campaign and continued to call for the total abolition of slavery after the parliamentary abolition.


Manilla

This is a currency bracelet, made of copper. This type of bracelet was made in Birmingham and shipped to Africa, where they were exchanged for goods and slaves. The bracelets had been used in West Africa since the 14th century, and once Europeans started trading with Africa, they made the bracelets in Europe and shipped them out. Hundreds of thousands of manillas were made in Birmingham and exported. Birmingham-made manillas are roughly C shaped, with flared ends.


Images of artefacts: Copyright Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery/ David Rowan.

Thanks to Thinktank for preparing information and images.


Find Out More

Find out more about the other projects under the A Shared History, A Shared Future banner.


A Shared History, A Shared Future
Breaking the Chains 2007
Birmingham City Archives
Museum and Heritage Projects