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Black Heritage Night

It was an inspiring evening with interesting guests, impressive live performances and powerful words. During Black Heritage Night we at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam paused and reflected on the dark pages of the past, but also celebrated black heritage. Would you like to watch Black Heritage Night with the Martin Luther King Lecture again? You can do so on this page!

The annual Martin Luther King Lecture was given by Jennifer Tosch, founder of Black Heritage Tours in Amsterdam, New York and Brussels. Co-founder of the Sites of Memory Foundation and member of the Mapping Slavery Project Netherlands. In her lecture, Tosch emphasised the role of women in activism. For although women's voices were barely heard in the past, history teaches us that they stood up for their rights. 

Journalist Nicole Terborg spoke with Jennifer Tosch, Mitchell Esajas of the New Urban Collective and The Black Archives, former politician John Leerdam and Harcourt Klinefelter, former advisor to Martin Luther King, about suppressed perspectives. 

The nominees for the Martin Luther King Spoken Word contest, Noë van Leeuwen, Anna van Doorn, Dina Bousbaa, Tasha Mhishi and Kwan Suppaiboonsuk, performed their entry live on Black Heritage Night. The expert jury, consisting of Babs Gons, Dorothy Blokland, Onias Landveld and Dave Ensberg, declared Tasha Mhishi the winner of the Martin Luther King Spoken Word contest 2021.

The documentary 'King: A filmed record...Montgomery to Memphis' was screened in the new Rialto VU film theatre. 

This diverse and exciting programme was brought to you by VU Amsterdam, Black Achievement Month, Stichting Martin Luther King Lezing, Justice & Peace, New Urban Collective, Rialto VU and VUvereniging

(Photo: UPI/From the film poster: KIng: A filmed record. Montgomery to Memphis)

Livestream Black Heritage Night

Missed Black Heritage Night with the Martin Luther King Lecture? Or would you like to watch the event again? You can! Watch the livestream fullscreen on Vimeo
The documentary 'King: A filmed record... Montgomery to Memphis' can also be viewed online here


  • Jennifer Tosch

    After completing her studies, Jennifer Tosch decided to find out more about the history of her ancestors. While a student in postcolonial history in Amsterdam, Tosch kept asking herself why so little was said about the atrocities committed under colonialism. Tosch wanted to contribute to uncovering this forbidden history and so founded Black Heritage Tours in Amsterdam in 2013. Since then, her Black Heritage Tours has set up operations in Brussels and New York. Jennifer Tosch is also co-founder of the Sites of Memory Foundation, member of the Netherlands Mapping Slavery Project, and the author of various books about Dutch colonial history. 

  • Nicole Terborg

    Journalist, presenter and programme-maker Nicole Terborg will be moderating the roundtable discussion after the Martin Luther King Lecture on Black Heritage Night. Terborg has three degrees, including a Bachelor’s in Religious Studies from VU Amsterdam, and now works for the Dutch national broadcasting company. In addition to programmes for radio and television, she often appears as a presenter and moderator at a wide variety of live events. 

  • Quinsy Gario

    Quinsy Gario is a Curaçaoan-Dutch performance poet and visual artist. ‘Decolonializing memory’ is a common theme of his artistic expressions. Gario is also well known for his protest against the figure of Zwarte Piet.

  • Gyonne Goedhoop

    Gyonne Goedhoop left sunny Aruba to study at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Goedhoop is a cultural consultant on heritage and inclusivity, and co-author of the Guide to the History of Slavery in the Netherlands, which introduces the reader to 100 locations in the country with links to slavery.

  • Mitchell Esajas

    Along with Jessica de Abreu, Mitchell Esajas was involved in the birth of New Urban Collective, a social organization dedicated to improving the position of young people of diverse ethnic backgrounds within Dutch society. Esajas is also the co-founder of The Black Archives, a unique historical archive preserving the perspectives of black people and other marginalized groups, where visitors can engage in inspiring discussions, attend informative activities and find numerous publications. Esajas graduated in Business Administration and Cultural Anthropology at VU Amsterdam.  

  • Jessica de Abreu

    Anthropologist, curator, activist. Jessica de Abreu is a member of the board of New Urban Collective and, along with Mitchell Esajas, co-founder of The Black Archives. De Abreu has a degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology and in Culture, Organization and Management from VU Amsterdam. 

  • John Leerdam

    Former Dutch politician John Leerdam will also be joining the roundtable discussion during Black Heritage Night. Leerdam’s roots are in the Antilles, and while in office he was politically active in affairs affecting Antilles and Aruba. He was also responsible for national cultural policy. He is currently consultant and committee member of the Amsterdam Arts Council, as well as Artistic Director and Project Manager of Black Achievement Month. He is also director of the foundation ‘Julius Leeft!’  


Black Heritage Night

  • Practical information

    When:            Thursday, 28 October

    Time:              7.00 PM – 12.00 PM

    Exhibition:      Foyer, Main Building, De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam

    Where:           Aula, Main Building, De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam, or via livestream

    Film:               NU Building, Rialto, De Boelelaan 1111 | Amsterdam                

    Admission:     Exhibition and lecture programme are freely accessible

    Film:               €11.50 Tickets are available at Rialto or click here

    Programme on location:

    7.00 - 8.00 PM           Continuous presentation by Circus Andersom of ‘Room for fear and longing’

    7.00 – 8.00 PM           Opening exhibition ‘Constructing Space, decolonizing VU Amsterdam Heritage’ and           

                                        presentations of those nominated in the Martin Luther King Spoken Word contest

    8.00 – 8.20 PM           Martin Luther King Lecture by Jennifer Tosch

    8.20 – 8.35 PM           Post-lecture discussion with New Urban Collective

    8.35 – 8.40 PM          Winner of the Martin Luther King spoken word contest announced

    8.40 – 8.50 PM           Pre-event conversation with New Urban Collective and John Leerdam before screening of 

                                        ‘King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis’  

    9.00 - 12.00 PM          Screening of ‘King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis’

    Start livestream: 7.55 PM