A new walking trail launches in Bath on March 28, a group hosted by Bath University is publishing a public trail identifying some of the City's connections with the Atlantic slave trade. The route invites the walker to visit a city built on the wealth generated in the trade in, and labour of, captured and enslaved Africans. The map identifies the former residencies of slave-owners and their coded memorials in the Abbey. Building on the work done by activists, researchers and artists including my own (Sweet Waters) this is the continuing story of bringing a UNESCO designated World Heritage City out of induced amnesia and denial.
Engaging with Bath’s Uncomfortable Past: A creative workshop to launch a new walking trail and reflect on the legacies of slavery in Bath
Thursday 25th March 18:00 – 19:30 GMT
We are invited to visit the ornate memorials stones in Bath's Abbey and to consider the millions of captured and enslaved people who died to produce their wealth. The route identifies some of those who exposed the horrific trade in human lives as well as some who played a part in supporting resistance to and escape from enslavement. The famous white aristocrat Wilberforce is acknowledged, of course, but what is new and long overdue is the opening to the stories of Black speakers and witnesses who came to Bath in the ongoing campaigns for freedom and civil rights. Black presence in Bath is featured.
The questions on the memorialisation of this 'uncomfortable' past, this reluctant heritage, continue. The need for social repair and public acknowledgement is self evident and embodied in the UNESCO designation, the local authority and holders of the official story of Bath have yet to respond. The launch workshop with contributions from academics, artists, heritage practitioners and walkers offers an opportunity to discover this latest contribution to ending the 'dead silence' that Jane Austen noted over two hundred years ago. I am very proud to have contributed to this.