Sunday, February 17, 2008
THE INHUMAN TRAFFIC
. . . Just back from a quick trip to London for a conference, about which more later . . . My first day was reserved for a visit to the British Museum. The UK has been mounting a series of events and exhibits to commemorate the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade -- Having just reread a number of contemporary American sermons and speeches on that event by early African American activists and intellectuals, I was curious to see how the subject was being treated in England. One of my more skeptical hosts told me that it had largely become a celebration of Britishness. That may not be entirely fair, judging from accounts I've read, but I wanted to see how the subject had been treated at the British Museum. Which is how I came to seek out the exhibit titled "THE INHUMAN TRAFFIC." I knew such an exhibit had been mounted, because I saw a poster for it as I entered the building. Still, it took the helpful museum staff quite a few minutes of staring at a muesum map and scratching their heads before they could direct me to the very small room dedicated to this large event. Turns out it was just off a grand hall filled with Greek antiquities.
I was, despite all that, gratified by the number of people who had also sought out this small exhibit, and by the conversations I heard among the visitors. Here are just a few quick shots from the exhibit.