Runaways London

£10.95

 

THE RUNAWAYS LONDON ANTHOLOGY:
DEVELOPED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW RUNAWAY SLAVES IN BRITAIN PROJECT AND SPREAD THE WORD.

What were the lives of enslaved people seeking freedom in London like? What did they hope for when they absconded? Traditional historical research and writing cannot easily answer these questions: we can speculate, but in the end we just don’t know. Our not knowing, and our inability to know, is the raison d’être for this project and book. This collection of poetry and art creatively imagines the lives of all those enslaved within London in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose resistance is still palpable.

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THE RUNAWAYS LONDON ANTHOLOGY DEVELOPED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW RUNAWAY SLAVES IN BRITAIN PROJECT AND SPREAD THE WORD.

 

An Indian black Girl, aged about 15, with a Brass Collar about her Neck, in a Drugget Gown
and a Painted-Callico Petticoat, Run away from Captain John Bowers in Rotherhith, on
Monday night last. Whoever brings her to Captain Bowers aforesaid, shall have a Guinea
Reward, and Charges.
— The London Gazette, 22nd September 1690

 

Between the 1650s and 1780s many hundreds of enslaved people were brought to London. Most were African although a significant minority were South Asian. While in the capital, some attempted to escape and, on occasions, those who pursued them placed advertisements in London newspapers seeking the capture and return of these freedom-seekers. The average age of the runaways was 16.

 

These ‘runaway advertisements’ reveal the existence of enslaved people in London yet tell us very little about them, and all through the eyes of those who enslaved and pursued them. Taking the dedicated historical research of Professor Simon Newman and the work on the history and heritage of slavery by Dr. Peggy Brunache as the starting point, Runaways’ poets Momtaza Mehri, Gboyega Odubanjo, Abena Essah, Oluwaseun Olayiwola and Memoona Zahid and illustrators Olivia Twist and Tasia Graham – have reimagined the stories of London’s runaways, showing them as actors of resistance and resilience. They will be able to claim and represent this history on their own terms.