Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture

Johny Pitts

Johny Pitts © Jamie Stoker

Thursday 22 August, 6 - 7.30pm

Lecture theatre, 4th floor (doors open 5.30pm)

Johny Pitts will be delivering the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture, as part of our Slavery Remembrance Day events this year.

Johny is a writer, photographer and broadcast journalist. He has received various awards for his work exploring Afro-European identity, including a Decibel Penguin Prize and an ENAR (European Network Against Racism) award.

The lecture is free but booking is essential, and places are limited. Tickets are now available from Eventbrite.

"It seems a typically American story. In 1930 a fourteen year old girl, only a generation or so away from her enslaved ancestors, leaves the inequity of the segregated south working as a sharecropper, to join the Great North migration searching for a better life in New York. She achieves her mission, and lives and dies in Brooklyn, a place Teju Cole calls 'One of the world's great African cities'.

That girl was my grandmother, my second name, however, is not American, but English. My lecture will make the connection between American slavery and Europe in an attempt - to quote Afro German scholar Fatima El Tayeb - to challenge 'the powerful narrative of Europe as a colour-blind continent, largely untouched by the devastating ideology it exported all over the world'." Johny Pitts


As part of an ongoing project, Johny founded and curates the award-winning online journal, an online multimedia, multidisciplinary journal exploring the social, cultural and aesthetic interplay of Black and European cultures, and the synergy of styles and ideas brought about because of this union. The Afropean is part of the Guardian Newspaper’s Africa Network dedicated to the Afro-European diaspora.

"In Afropean: Adventures in Black Europe, broadcaster and author Johny Pitts negotiates a number of themes that are pertinent to the work of the International Slavery Museum such as identity creation and colonial legacies - whilst giving a voice to often ignored Black narratives. We feel that Johny’s very current observations and conclusions will be of great interest to regular and new lecture attendees alike. We look forward to providing an engaged audience and a warm welcome." Dr Richard Benjamin

"As a northerner with enslaved people in my ancestry, it is an honour to engage with the powerful work happening in Liverpool. It is work that asks us to enter the lives and struggles of those woven out of so many historical narratives, and face up to a legacy that persists in current global power structures." Johny Pitts

Slavery Remembrance Day events are organised by National Museums Liverpool in partnership with Liverpool City Council.

Dorothy Kuya

Dorothy Kuya

This annual event has been named in honour of Dorothy Kuya. She was one of the country's leading figures in combating inequality and a tireless anti-racism campaigner who fought all her life for truth and justice.

Dorothy lived in Liverpool and was part of the steering group instrumental in transforming and developing National Museums Liverpool's Transatlantic Slavery Gallery into the International Slavery Museum, which opened in 2007.

It is fitting that her name should live on to educate and inspire future generations.

Slavery Remembrance Day has been marked on 23 August in Liverpool since 1999. Liverpool was the European capital of the transatlantic slave trade, responsible for half of Britain’s trade. More than 5,000 slaver ship voyages were made from the city. The ships set sail from Liverpool with goods and franchise, which were exchanged for enslaved men, women and children on the west coast of Africa who were then taken across the Atlantic in a horrific journey known as ‘the Middle Passage’. Through these exchanges, ships departing Liverpool would go on to carry an estimated 1.5 million enslaved Africans into slavery.