During July and August 2020 we were pleased to offer a series of online conversations with historians on selected Mondays. “Slavery and Freedom in the Era of Revolution” examined issues of race, slavery, freedom and revolution, and focused on understanding how historians have written, are writing, and are reading and talking about these critical subjects.
We were grateful to receive support from the departments of English, History, and Theatre, Speech and Dance as well as the Film and Media Studies and American Studies programs for this event.
On Monday, September 23, 2019 we welcomed filmmakers Moyo and Morayo Akande to the campus of William & Mary. They screened their short film “1745” and discussed their writing process as well as the research they have done. They were joined by early American historian Simon Newman, one of the authors of the digital project Runaway Slaves in Britain which in part inspired them to make the film.
Moyo Akande is an actress and producer. She has an extensive list of television credits for the BBC and has worked with Olivier and Tony award-winning directors across theatres in Britain. Morayo Akande is a BIFA and BAFTA nominated writer. Their BAFTA and BIFA nominated short film—“1745”—which they scripted and in which they star—is currently being developed into a feature film.
When two young black enslaved black sisters escape into the wilds of 18th century Scotland, they must use all of their courage and strength to survive, unite, and stay free.
1745 highlights a forgotten part of Scotland’s history: while Scotland was fighting for its national freedom in that fateful year, its economy was in large part founded on the booming colonial slave trade. While the majority of slavery happened elsewhere—off-stage, across the Atlantic—there were enslaved Africans in Scotland, kept as trophies and pets in the houses of their rich merchant masters. “1745” was inspired by advertisements that writer, Morayo Akandé, discovered for runaway slaves, placed in Scottish newspapers of the time.