Teaching about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

The Historical Association is committed to opposing prejudice and racism. It is a keen advocate of ensuring that young people learn about diverse histories and difficult historical events.

Over the last few days there has been some coverage about a resource used by a Kent school to teach about the transatlantic slave trade. This resource was not created, promoted, or endorsed by the Historical Association. We had not seen the resource prior to it being published by the media this week. If we had seen the resource we would have advised them strongly against using it.

The guidelines referred to by Rochester Grammar School in their statement were written by Anti-Slavery on the Historical Association site here. RGS are not following this advice.

This guidance clearly states the need for a sensitive approach, especially when using role play or simulation. While advocating the need not to teach slavery as a simple black/white divide and to explore the many different perspectives and people involved, at no point does the published guidance advocate or advise the use of an exercise simulating a slave auction.

The Historical Association works with and supports a number of initiatives that challenge racism and prejudice in schools. It will continue to support teachers and schools to tackle emotive and controversial history in the classroom and to explore ways of ensuring history is taught with emotional understanding and consideration.