London Borough of Newham Council led “The Wickedest of Cargoes…”, an exhibition at Stratford Town Hall, which used local museum and archive collections to explore the history of the slave trade and abolition. It looked at the history of slavery through different societies and cultures, and especially the Barbary pirates who enslaved seamen and passengers from ships on the west coast of North Africa. The exhibition explored the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition from a local perspective, focusing on the large Quaker community in West Ham and, in particular, John Fothergill and Samuel Gurney. Newham has many residents from an African Caribbean background, who were consulted in the development of the exhibition. Addressing the legacies of slavery, the exhibition looked at the rising Black population of the borough through history and the importance of the Coloured Men’s Institute in Canning Town, set up as a place where Black families could meet.
To mark the bicentenary, Manifesta (a not for profit company delivering projects addressing cultural diversity) and the Runnymede Trust (an independent policy research organisation focusing on equality and justice) joined forces to launch a youth and digital media initiative, Video ART (Anti-Racist Trails) Postcards. The project explored connections between slavery, colonialism and contemporary issues of racism and related injustice. In the summer of 2007, two groups of teenagers aged 14-19 from the London Borough of Newham participated in workshops to uncover sites related to historical racism and anti-racism in the West India Docks area of London, assisted by video artists and historians. Using video for self-expression, each participant interpreted this history and heritage by producing a short personal video or 'postcard' - there were 33 videos in total. The videos were made available on an online resource, and a Teacher's Guide was created to be used alongside the website.
A day of activities to mark the bicentenary was held in November 2007 at Forest Gate Youth Zone, a young people's drop-in centre in the London Borough of Newham. The day included an exhibition, workshops and performances.
Eastside Community Heritage worked with young people from West Ham and Stratford to explore the significance of the bicentenary within the context of their own history in London and in British history more widely. The Road to Freedom project was devised by the young people themselves, who gathered information from the Museum of London Docklands, the National Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Their research led to a documentary-drama and an exhibition which toured venues in Newham, accompanied by discussion sessions led by the participants.