Temporary Display

John Brown in Dorchester: Rebuilding a Life after slavery

3 February - 30 June 2024

Showcase display | Collections Discovery Centre

Discover the little-known story of John Brown, in this new showcase display outside the Collections Discovery Centre.

Brown was a formerly enslaved Black man, who lived in Dorchester in the 1860s, working as a herbalist. Born into slavery in Virginia, USA around 1811, Brown, who never knew his family name, was separated from his family as a young child. Brown faced significant trauma whilst he was enslaved. Through resilience and determination, he escaped in 1845 by travelling via the Underground Railroad to Michigan, where slavery had been abolished. He moved to England, where he wrote a memoir, gave talks about his experiences, and built a new career, working as an herbalist. He spent several years in the southwest, living in Dorchester for 5 years.

John Brown in Dorchester was curated by Jordan Cole, a Master’s student in Heritage Management at Bath Spa University, as part of a funded project through the Wessex Museums Partnership.

Please note that the display explores themes including slavery, racial discrimination, violence, and trauma that may cause distress.

 

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Banner Image: Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries.

 

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