I am distraught that in the 190 years since my death, slavery and people
trafficking is still active in this country. In my day I wrote to George
Washington, Thomas Paine and hundreds of others with the aim of furthering
equality between men, but I realise now that you and your readers have
more power and, I trust, the inclination to change the course of history.
I note that 23 August is now the International Day for the Remembrance
of the Slave Trade and its Abolition but witnessed a distinct
lack of significant events. I would ask that you draw your readers
attention to the forthcoming Parliamentary debate on Slavery on October
14th 2004 and encourage them to generate ideas to raise awareness of
modern day slavery alongside the commemoration of slavery in the past.
On a final note, I would like to commend an arts exhibit in your region
called The Dark. The Dark is an opportunity for your readers to step
into my life in the 18th century and witness for themselves some of
the hardship and cruelty I discovered on slave ships. It is completely
dark inside so I urge caution to those of your readers afraid of the
dark, but recommend it to all others who wish to experience an outstanding
immersion into my life on a slave ship. The Dark may be experienced
at Thinktank, the Birmingham science museum at Millennium Point, daily
until 30 November and is entirely free.
As well as being able to dictate this letter to you, I have also discovered
how to create a site on the world wide web. If you would be so kind
as to point your readers to www.thedark.net they can find out more for
themselves about The Dark and the people and events on which it is based.
Your tireless correspondent, radical poet and abolitionist,
Edward Rushton (1756-1814).