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Activism to be explored at International Slavery Museum

ACTIVISM EXHIBITION: The National Welfare Rights Organization marching to end hunger as part of the Poor Peoples Campaign in 1968. (Image: Jack Rottier photograph collection, George Mason University Libraries)

THE INTERNATIONAL Slavery Museum has announced its new exhibition "Journey to Justice", which will open on October 5 2018, exploring how people, both in the UK and internationally, have sought to challenge inequality and campaign for cultural and political transformation.

The exhibition reveals the inspiring and moving personal stories of some of the less well-known women, men and children involved in US and UK struggles for freedom through history.

Its organisers have said it explores how "people like us" can become extraordinary in the quest for social justice today, how to become campaigners, with a focus on Liverpool’s community and the city’s DIY, roots up culture of self-activism.

Highlights of this exhibition, which features music, audio and photography, include a display of 27 vibrant zines from Over Here Zine Fest, a not-for profit event focusing on the work of Black, Asian and BAME zine makers, artists, writers and activists.

A set of snapchat filters inspired by, and designed to celebrate, Dr Martin Luther King Jr are also available to complement the exhibition. When the snapchat codes are scanned, two filters will be unlocked which visitors can use to show and share what they would protest about today with the hashtags #IHaveADreamISM and #JourneyToJustice. The filters have been designed by Kirsty Buckley, a Liverpool John Moores University graduate in graphic design and illustration. Max Palmer, a current student in the department, has also contributed a separate piece of work.

Marcia Heinemann Saunders, who was a voter registration worker during the summer of 1964 in the American civil rights movement and activist Janice Wesley have also contributed to the exhibition.

Jean-Francois Manicom, curator, International Slavery Museum, said: “It’s a privilege to be working with campaigners like Janice Wesley and Marcia Heinemann Saunders. They blazed a trail but would likely call themselves ordinary. We hope to inspire the visitors through their stories and the practical information in this exhibition. This isn’t about giving people all the answers - it’s giving people the inspiration and the knowledge. Know your cause, find your campaign, and explore your options and your way of doing things. Then get out and mobilise.”

Carrie Supple, director, Journey to Justice, the volunteer led human rights education charity that is delivering the exhibition in partnership with National Museums Liverpool, said: “We are honoured to be part of the International Slavery Museum for the next six months and have a chance to connect with Merseyside’s mighty social justice history. Our travelling exhibition is designed to be a catalyst by telling some unforgettable stories of how ‘people like us’ choose to make change happen. The way the International Slavery Museum and its partners have linked universal themes of the US civil rights movement to current urgent issues is inspiring”.

The contemporary activist movement is explored through the works and voices of activists and artists in Liverpool, who continue to challenge injustice.

Highlights include an array of exciting and inspiring zines (self-published magazines), commissioned by the International Slavery Museum including Seeds of Change, which highlights women activists in Liverpool in the year of #Vote100, celebrating 100 years of suffrage. Seeds of Change was created by Lois South, a young ambassador for the International Slavery Museum, in collaboration with artist Seleena Daye.

Also featured are artworks and oral histories generated by the Sankofa Project which explores the experience of the black community in Liverpool.

By exploring the US civil rights movement, the exhibition shows how people in the UK and the rest of the world were inspired to fight for their rights and make significant social and political change.

Manicom said: “Activism has a powerful and unifying ripple effect which means the impact of figures such as Dr Martin Luther King Jr are still evident today, in this museum, in this city and well beyond. We’ll be showing the works of local artists and activists. The exhibition celebrates the city’s vibrant engagement with social and political issues. We’re seeing a move towards self-activism and DIY, roots up culture here.

“There has been a really big change in the second half of the century. People are not only fighting for themselves and their own rights, but now they are fighting for the rights of others. Activism is bringing people together and changing lives.”

"Journey to Justice" is on from October 5 2018 until April 7 2019. Entry is free. The International Slavery Museum is open 10am-5pm daily. For more information visit

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