“I suspect there are a good number of us who have African DNA,” said Professor Simon Newman of Glasgow University. The Professor, who worked on Freedom Bound, revealed that the loss of slave stories from the national memory had been “accidental”.
Professor Simon Newman told The National: “Because there weren’t huge numbers of these people, because they formed relationships with the white population, they just disappeared.”
Freedom Bound is the fruit of an “ambitious collaboration” between independent publisher BHP Comics and Glasgow University, with illustrations from veteran artist Warren Pleece, whose credits include DC Comics and 2000AD.
The 144 pages’ book is based on fact, with some dramatisation, Sha Nazir of BHP told The National.
The book tells the stories of three people brought to Scotland to serve white masters.
“While their realities are captured in part in newspaper adverts and articles of the time, gaps in our knowledge remain, meaning the comic makers had to fictionalise the tales.
These include stories of a woman known only as Ann, who was made to wear a metal collar engraved with her master’s name, of Jamie Montgomery, who died in an Edinburgh jail after seeking freedom, and Joseph Knight, who achieved emancipation after starting a family and a bitter legal battle.
Though the case changed Scots law, Sha Nazir of BHP says too little is known about this chapter of our past.”
Mr Nazir said slavery is part of the Scottish history, and they need to recognise it.
“Nazir, art director and publisher at the Glasgow comic house, said: “Graphic narrative is able to engage young readers in ways in which traditional prose cannot, offering both visual and text cues to the learner. Freedom Bound will use this to help bring readers into the historic period and engage them in important political and historical study which will massively benefit their learning.
All editions feature additional material at the end of the narrative, including copies of these advertisements and excerpts from research to put the stories into historical context. It is hoped that this will also help teachers incorporate the title in their lessons.”