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August 14, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg’s Equiano Forum Reveals Three Faces of Abolition

Colonial Williamsburg’s Equiano Forum presents “Faces of Abolition: International Efforts to End the Slave Trade” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St. The program introduces guests to three everyday people in America, the Caribbean and Europe who mobilized against the inhumanity of the slave trade in the late 18th century. Their efforts changed history by pressuring governments to abolish the trade at the dawn of the 19th century. Their methods and motivations were diverse, but their goal was the same – abolish the slave trade.

Colonial Williamsburg’s Equiano Forum seeks to broaden public knowledge of past and present issues concerning African American history and culture.

The hour-long program introduces a Quaker woman, Mary Pleasants of Virginia, as she frees her slaves and proclaims that the slave trade is injurious to the Christian faith. In England, young Anglican activist, Thomas Clarkson, is traveling thousands of miles throughout Europe to find testimony and witnesses to proclaim the inhumanity of the trade before the British House of Commons. Jean-Jacque Dessalines, the commander in chief to the people of Haiti, leads a revolution for liberty, fraternity and equality to end slavery and the slave trade. Guided by the ideals of liberty and freedom, he shares a bold vision of the future for the people of Haiti.

Excerpts from an award winning film, “‘The bloody Writing is for ever torn’ The Abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins, Effects and Legacies,” provides the historical context for the program. The film was produced by the College of William & Mary’s Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture during a conference in 2007 to mark the bicentennial of governmental decisions to abolish the transatlantic slave trade.

A Colonial Williamsburg Revolutionary City ticket, annual, museum or Good Neighbor pass provides access to these programs.

Guests may join us on Facebook for updated information at

Programs and exhibitions at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

Colonial Williamsburg’s African American programming is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment of Humanities, Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Parsons, Douglas N. Morton, Marilyn L. Brown, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Charles E. Culpeper Endowments in Arts and Culture of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Altria Client Services, AT&T, Philip Morris, Dominion Foundation and IBM.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in The Revolutionary City and through the award-winning Revolutionary CityTM presentation. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121