I visited the slavery museum in Liverpool yesterday and found it disturbingly powerful. The shackles above were displayed in a glass cabinet similar to a piece of art work, yet they are the complete opposite of creativity. On another wall in the museum there was a quote from Frederick Douglass (a man who escaped slavery and became an orator and social reformer).
“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck”
One section looked at the process of breaking the individual so they become submissive. Known as seasoning the slave was given a new name, was branded and received the lash. Effectively they were stripped of their identity and separated from their heritage.
The slave trade was abolished by the British Parliament in 1807 yet in many ways it can live on. The chains may no longer be physical but when we oppress someone or some people through injustice the abuse is still real, and affects humanity at large. I would encourage anyone to visit the museum, to ward against any of us slipping into dominating another human being, and to challenge the situation of oppression that our global economics has on the marginalised. I leave you with another photograph I took yesterday which I couldn’t ignore, showing a sculpture of an enslaved African chained in a pit, Zanzibar.