Update: Val Jenner explains more about this exciting project and how you can get involved:
Is there any point in looking backwards? In looking at our history? In interrogating the accepted Quaker narratives and founding stories? There will always be Friends who think not and who want to deal with here and now and the needs and injustices arising in the present; and of course that is what we are all called, each in our own measure, to do. Left unattended, with no help or recourse, those needs and injustices flow forward into the future, damning individuals and creating other circumstances for other times called “here and now”.
The present very quickly becomes history and how we understand ourselves and the world can be influenced as much by what we do not know or have forgotten as a people. As Oodgeroo Noonuccal wrote: “Let no one say the past is dead, The past is all about us and within.” And all those of us who know ourselves as members of the West, citizens of the UK and commonwealth countries, British Quakers, are products of and have internalised an economic and political system spanning five hundred years or more.
How far and how deeply have Quakers been involved in this economic system and in the values it has created? Do we still carry within us a shadow of biases we are hardly aware of?
There is still time to join the Responding to Racism CEQ funded research project which will support volunteers to examine in more detail the Quaker history of involvement and opposition to the slave trade and related industries and the colonial and post-colonial businesses of the Midlands. It is hoped that the project will start by the end of February 2024 at the latest and run initially for a year.
If you are interested, whether or not you have done historical research before, and would like more information, please email Val Jenner: R2R@centralenglandquakers.org.uk
The original post from autumn 2023:
Interested in research? Wanting to know more about the Midlands connection to slavery? Curious about Quaker history?
CEQ is giving financial support to a research project that will enable Friends to look more closely at our involvement, here in the Midlands, with the slave trade and related industries. The CEQ Responding to Racism Group, in conjunction with Woodbrooke Learning, are seeking volunteers who will be able to devote at least a small number of hours per week to the research which will be guided by a Woodbrooke tutor and formed by the interests of the volunteer researchers involved themselves.
It is hoped that the project will start in February 2024 and run initially for a year. If you are interested, whether or not you have done historical research before, and would like more information, please email Stuart Morton and Val Jenner: firstname.lastname@example.org