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Black Heritage Night with Martin Luther King Lecture

27 September 2021
For centuries, Amsterdam was a centre of trade in enslaved peoples. But few people are aware of this aspect of the city’s history. During Black Heritage Night, on Thursday, 28 October, we at VU Amsterdam want to pause and reflect on this painful chapter of the city’s history. At the same time we will be celebrating black heritage with the Martin Luther King Lecture, presented this year by Jennifer Tosch, the exhibition ‘Constructing Space’ and a screening of the documentary ‘King: A filmed record...Montgomery to Memphis’.

Jennifer Tosch will be speaking about the hitherto unacknowledged perspective of enslaved peoples in the nation’s history. The teaching of Dutch history focuses on events in the Netherlands and Europe, while the perspectives of enslaved peoples have been left out. Tosch wants to give people a more inclusive view of our history. We will be discussing the Martin Luther King Lecture with Mitchell Esajas and Jessica de Abreu, moderated by journalist Nicole Terborg.

But that’s not all. Those nominated for the Martin Luther King Spoken Word contest will be performing their texts for the audience. The jury, presided over by VU Amsterdam Writer in Residence Babs Gons, will announce the winner later in the evening.

In the exhibition ‘Constructing Space’, students investigate the links between colonialism and VU Amsterdam’s heritage collections, and draw connections to the present, while the artists collective Circus Andersom will present their research findings on diversity, fear and longing at VU Amsterdam.

The three-hour documentary film biography ‘King: A filmed record...Montgomery to Memphis’ (1970) will be screened for the first time in the Netherlands. John Leerdam, Director of Black Achievement Month, will introduce the film.

This diverse and exciting programme is brought to you by VU Amsterdam, Black Achievement Month, the Martin Luther King Lecture Foundation, Justice & Peace, New Urban Collective, Rialto VU and en VUvereniging!

You can find the complete programme here

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