28 January 2021

Murder on the Middle Passage: The trial of Captain Kimber

In April 1792 Captain John Kimber of the Bristol ship, Recovery, was tried for the murder of an enslaved woman.

The charge was very unusual, though not entirely unprecedented, because at the time enslaved Africans were generally regarded as “cargo”.

In the famous insurance case of 1783, the massacre of African captives thrown off the Zong slave ship, was deemed “the same as if Horses had been thrown over board”.

This talk traces the career path of the captain, the circumstances of the enslaved woman’s death and the drama of the trial. It examines how and why this particular case became a cause célèbre in the battle to establish an enslaved African’s legal personality and to abolish the slave trade.

It also tracks the afterlife of the Kimber affair in Bristol and abolition history.

Speaker: Nicholas Rogers is Distinguished Professor in History at York University, Toronto.

This is a UWE Regional History Centre talk in partnership with M Shed seminar series.

Image (c) Kate Greenslade

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 2pm on Thursday 28 January.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.