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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

An academic smiles at the camera. Behind her is a view of fields from above.


12 October 2023, 1:00PM - 2PM

The Andrews Gallery, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Free, booking required


About the event

The presentation by Dr Carol Brown-Leonardi focuses on slave rebellions across the Caribbean in which the islands became arenas where enslaved people battled for their freedom with persistent determination. Their perseverance and accomplishments finally achieved the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833 in parliament that abolished the slave trade in the British colonies. It reflects on the frequent and formidable rebellions and conspiracies to demonstrate the degree in which these events influenced the decision for abolition.  This is significant as it draws a rounded perspective of enslavement under the British protestant system and the growth of the anti-slavery movement across the Caribbean. The British opposition to the enslavement of individuals was prompted in response to the raise in the bourgeoisie abolitionist movement. This was exacerbated in the rise in violent resistance on the sugar plantations, the public knowledge of the Africans suffering on the plantations and the increased fatalities of the enslavers under the cruel system. The lecture focuses a lens on the African struggle to end the apprenticeship system that enslaved individuals for a further 4-6 years following the abolition of slavery, which was passed in parliament in August 1838.

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About the speaker

Dr Carol Brown-Leonardi currently works at the Open University in the Department of Geography (FASS) and Global Studies. As a social anthropologist she is passionate about research, and has been conducting a research project on Olaudah Equiano’s life in Cambridge and his contribution to the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. This project revealed fascinating insights into the social and working relationships between 18th century free Black men in England and English scholars, and clergymen. The significance of this is their active involvement or connection with the transatlantic slave trade and enslavers. This project was conducted in association with the Equiano Bridge project with the Cambridge African Network Charity and Circles of Change community group. Dr Brown-Leonardi has recently conducted the Black history lectures at the Museums of Cambridge, which covered the significant contributions in England’s history by African individuals. Other research projects in progress focus on the positive contributions of the Windrush generation to British Society, which has captured the imaginations of the Caribbean Diaspora. Her previous presentations on black history focused on Ordinary and Prominent Black People in Victorian Britain as well as the Moors Black Presence in the United Kingdom Before and During the Tudor Period. The online publication Deconstructing the Moors, Black Presence in the United Kingdom Before and During the Tudor Period was written to accompany the online presentation. Dr Brown-Leonardi's goal is to inspire the academic and public community to increase their knowledge and explore past events in history.