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28 October 2014

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March of the Abolitionists
Image: Matt Stanley, Newport Daily News

The March of the Abolitionists

Can reconciliation and forgiveness be achieved by wearing the yokes and chains of imprisonment? The abolition marchers believe their 250-mile walk will go at least some way toward promoting a greater understanding of our role in the slave trade.

Campaigners call it 'an act of apology' and as such, the March of the Abolitionists is being billed as the first major public event to mark the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.

Men in chains
Image: Lifeline Expedition website

Beginning in Hull on Friday 2nd March, hundreds of people will don yokes and chains and attempt the 250-mile journey from Humberside to London - the gruelling route taken by enslaved Africans during the period of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Marching through the county

The abolition marchers' route will link up sites throughout the country that played a significant role in the slave trade in the United Kingdom.

In Cambridgeshire, these include Wisbech, the birthplace of abolitionist Thomas Clarkson; Cambridge, where both Clarkson and William Wilberforce were educated; and Soham, where the African abolitionist Olaudah Equiano was married.

You're welcome to walk with the marchers as they pass through your part of the county.

Route details

  • Monday 12th March - Holbeach to Wisbech
  • Tuesday 13th March - Wisbech to Wimblington
  • Wednesday 14th March - Wimblington to Sutton
  • Thursday 15th March - Sutton to Soham
  • Friday 16th March - Soham to Cambridge
  • Saturday 17th March - Cambridge to Royston
  • Sunday 18th March - Royston (rest day)
  • Monday 19th March - Royston to Buntingford

The march will culminate in an Anglican Apology event in Greenwich on Saturday 24th March.

Why and who?

The March of the Abolitionists is an initiative of the Lifeline Expedition in partnership with Anti-Slavery International, CARE, Church Mission Society, the Equiano Society, Northumbria Community, Peaceworks, USPG, Wilberforce 2007 (Hull) and Youth With A Mission. The march is also associated with the Set All Free and Stop the Traffik coalitions.

Women hugging
Image: Lifeline Expedition website

Marchers include a number of children aged between five and 15, two of whom will occasionally wear the yokes and chains.  The organisers stress that these children are aged 12 and 15 and have chosen to wear the yokes after seeing pictures of enslaved children.

The march of the Abolitionists aims to bring about an apology for the slave trade, and especially the role of the Church, and so help people deal with its legacy; to raise greater awareness of the true history of both slavery and abolition; remember and celebrate the work of both the black and white abolitionists; and promote greater understanding, reconciliation and forgiveness.

last updated: 02/03/07
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Chris Wright
Good to join you for just a short way out of Cambridge this morning. Humbling to learn more and see the dedication of the team, including the dog, to the cause.

Jon Hind
Want to join them, but can't work out when they arrive in Royston.

we are with you guys all the way!! Let freedom ring!!

Sebastian De Carss
The questions are still out there The Last child slaves The Child migrant, whom had been Stolen in 1960s Barnardo Child Migrant 1606 1968 1973 Ex Child Slave by Dr Barnardo Sebastian De Carss. Barnardo abuse. Ripon The BBC The WEB BOX. PETITIONS Interesting times to learn about recent Black and Whit Slaves

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Abolition - 1807

Abolition - 1807

History: Abolition 1807 »

Religion: Ethics of Slavery »

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