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Historical Event, Thu 22 Nov 2018, free entry

Wilson Armistead. A Story of Religion and Activism

Wilson Armistead. A Story of Religion and Activism


To mark the 250th Anniversary of The Leeds Library, this year’s Priestley Lecture will be given by Joe Williams and focuses on one of the unsung heroes of Leeds, Wilson Armistead (1819-1868), a Leeds Library member and activist. According to William Wells Brown, ‘Few English gentlemen have done more to hasten the day of the slave’s liberation than Wilson Armistead’. The lecture, given by Joe Williams, will look at the life of Armistead, his work as an abolitionist and how difficult historical narratives have resonance in today’s society.

Armistead's impassioned treatise for black Africans to be treated equally, _A Tribute For The Negro_ was published in 1848, and was reprinted as recently as 2005. It is still used extensively as an academic text in many US universities teaching about the abolition of slavery.

This is a free event but please register. Doors open at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start.

Joe Williams [] (MA) is an arts and heritage activist. He is Founder and Director of Heritage Corner, Leeds and a Visiting Research Fellow (2018/19) at FAHACS, University of Leeds. Joe's Leeds Black History Walk, based on work with the Diasporian Stories Research Group and others, is now in its 9th season. His play, 'Meet the Crafts', toured to universities and other venues including the Leeds Library and the British Library, London. The play highlights Wilson Armistead's outstanding dedication to humanity and the many activists of colour he invited to Victorian Leeds.

The 2018 Annual Priestley Lecture is sponsored by Mill Hill Chapel, The Leeds Library and Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.

This event forms part of our Festival of the Mind season in homage to Joseph Priestley, one of our founder members, which is running from Tuesday 20th November to Saturday 1st December, and is supported by Arts@Leeds and Leeds City Council.

Event details

Dates Times
Thu 22 Nov 2018 19:30 to 21:00


Free entry

Please note that admission is by ticket.


The Leeds Library,
18 Commercial Street,



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