American history expert to talk about abolition of slavery movement in Newcastle and North Shields at Fish Quay heritage centre

One of the country’s leading experts in American history is to give a talk this weekend about the part played by Newcastle and North Tyneside in campaigns to abolish slavery.

Professor Brian Ward will give the illustrated talk on Saturday 19 October at 11am at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre on North Shields Fish Quay. Entry is £3 (free to Old Low Light members).

The talk is part of a package of events taking place over Autumn linked to the Breaking Chains exhibition currently on display at the Old Low Light, telling the story of Mary Ann Macham, an escaped enslaved woman, who became part of the local community in the 19th century and the role North Shields played in the abolition movement.

Nina Brown, an Old Low Light volunteer said: “We are very pleased to welcome Professor Ward to the heritage centre and are looking forward to hearing from him about this important part of our local history.”

Brian Ward is Professor of American Studies at Northumbria University. Previously he held the Chair in American Studies at the University of Manchester and before that was Chair of the Department of History at the University of Florida, after teaching at the Universities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham. He is also a former Chair of the British Association for American Studies.

He has authored many books on US history but is best known locally for Martin Luther King in Newcastle upon Tyne – the African American Freedom Struggle and Race Relations in the North East of England, published by Tyne Bridge Books in 2017.

Breaking Chains is running every day until 22 December, open every day from 10am to 4pm.
In the coming weeks there will be further events at the Old Low Light linked to Breaking Chains including another talk, two concerts by a local women’s choir and a quilting display and demonstration. Further information is available at

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