Who resisted and campaigned for abolition?

Token, Am I Not a Man and a Brother

Designed by William Hackwood, for Wedgwood, 1787

Object number NMLH.1995.91.46
Given as part of the Hymie Fagan Collection, 1995

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Token, Am I Not a Man and a Brother

This token was produced for the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, established by Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson in 1787. It shows the society's emblem of a chained African man, naked and kneeling, surrounded by the words 'Am I Not a Man and a Brother'. The reverse side shows two hands clasped in friendship.

The pleading supplicant slave became an enduring image, reproduced and distributed through literature and decorative objects, including ceramic medallions produced by Josiah Wedgwood, himself a prominent abolitionist. Whilst it was intended to shame those who were involved in the slave trade, it also had the negative effect of representing the enslaved as essentially passive. In fact, enslaved people repeatedly resisted oppression with courage, ingenuity and determination. The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act finally became law in 1807, although the institution of slavery was not officially abolished until 1833.

This information was provided by curators from the People's History Museum.