The Unquiet Grave: a fresh look at the Scipio Africanus story

By Colin Godman

Issue 18, Summer, 2008 pp. 13-17.

The passing of the Slave Trade Act in London in March 1807 did little to ease the burden of enslaved people already held in the British Caribbean. They had to wait until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 which began the slow move towards emancipation. The bicentenary of the 1807 Act was accompanied by new publications, exhibitions, and an urging of urban communities to engage in a commemoration of Abolition 200. English Heritage invited people to follow in the footsteps of the abolitionists and recall the lives of those enslaved people who were to end their lives here in Britain, far from their ancestor’s African homelands. Visits to the graves of Africans were encouraged; one such grave was of Scipio Africanus. Colin Godman endeavours to uncover something of the life of Africanus through the information that is available about his master, the Earl of Suffolk.

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