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Tag Archives Atlantic Slave Trade

FOUR SCREEN PLAYS

I wrote the screenplays between 2001 and 2008. They are presented below in the order in which they were written. Each is set against the background of armed conflict.

I was inspired to learn how to write screenplays as a result of a number of conversations in New York in August 2001 with Annabel Honor-Lissi, a fellow creative, and digital tutorials with her which followed.

 

THE MEMORIAL

The Memorial is about redemption through kindness, compassion and love.  Set in the immediate aftermath of the 1st World War, it is a love story that explores class,

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A SORT OF EDEN

“Did you not hear me ask Sir Thomas about the slave trade last night?…There was such a dead silence.”

MANSFIELD PARK,  Jane Austen

 

It is fitting in certain English novels

that there should be significant absences

in Bath or London, journeys of consequence

to the colonies, and banishments

to darkest Dorset or a coastal town.

It is appropriate too that there should be

rain of whatever kind falling frequently,

forcing protagonists and antagonists

to be housebound, introspective,

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PHILLIS WHEATLEY: 1753-1784

Enslaved in the Gambia or Senegal,

scholars surmise, she survived the nauseous

and violent bottom line of the

Triangular Trade to be bought aged eight

as a maid for his wife by John Wheatley,

merchant and tailor of British-ruled Boston,

a known progressive in education.

 

She was christened ‘Phillis’ after the slave ship

that took her childhood. She was prodigious,

and was removed from domestic duties.

Tutored by his daughter, at twelve she knew

Latin,

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THE COLSTON BUN

‘And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.’ DEUTERONOMY 12.3

‘Black deaths do not have a good press, especially when they occur in the custody of our custodians. The media leads the public to believe that our guardians can do no wrong. Racism leads them to believe that blacks can do no right. The silence of the custodial system is compounded by the silences of racism.’ DEADLY SILENCE: BLACK DEATHS IN CUSTODY,

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CONTAGION

‘O happy posterity, who will not experience such abysmal woe,  and will look upon our testimony as a fable.’ Francesco Petrarch

 

Somewhere near the estuary of the Don,

with its mudflats and meanders, north

of the Sea of Azov, and somewhere

near the Volga Delta, with its pelicans

and flamingos, north of the Caspian,

on the steppe lands are black rats and fleas

and yersinia pestis. The rats

like human warmth, and the fleas can leap.

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LIKE A FIRE BELL IN THE NIGHT

‘It is an article of faith that knowledge of the past is a key to understanding the present.’
The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South Kenneth M. Stampp

 

While the patrols inflamed the sudden sky
with bodies charred beyond race, runaways,
still green from the deep forests of Guinea,
crossed Georgia’s strange, red earth then the barrens,
where pines sighed like ancestral ghosts, and swamps,
where vipers lisped in honeysuckle,
to reach the shore and walk home through the sea –
whose waters, as they drowned,

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