About the project

The First of August 1838 was a new beginning for nearly a million Africans in the British Caribbean. The passing of the Abolition Act in 1833 and full emancipation from 1st August 1838 marked the end of a long struggle against enslavement and the start of a new journey in which the former enslaved began to re-forge old traditions and build new ones. From the 1500s, Africans had been, forcibly transported to the Caribbean and denied basic human rights, even the responsibility of bringing up their own children. The enslavers owned every family member, and ensured that the latter were not usually kept together as a unit. With emancipation came the opportunity to renew, restore, rebuild family life and social ties.

The Emancipation 1838 project, through the use of original source material, explores the lives of individuals and families just prior to and after Emancipation, showing the changes in everyday life, work, leisure and family organisation that were possible.

The project, through a series of community conferences, workshops, touring and static exhibitions, Key Stage 2 learning resources, tells the stories of key 1820s abolitionists in the Caribbean and Britain, the British Parliamentary Debates, and celebrates 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 in the colonies.

Through this website you can learn more about the events we have planned, and learn more about the extraordinarily people that lived through those tumultuous times.