The Equiano Society announces a new project
CELEBRATING IGNATIUS SANCHO (c1729-1780): AN AFRICAN MAN OF LETTERS
With an award from National Heritage Lottery Fund, the project will celebrate the writer, businessman, playwright, composer, and abolitionist who was buried in the churchyard of St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey. On 17 December 1758, he married Anne Osborne in St Margaret’s Church, and they ran a grocery shop at an address off Whitehall, Westminster. All their seven children were baptised at St Margaret’s Church. He was the first Black Briton to have voted in a national election and to have had an obituary published in the national papers. Thomas Gainsborough painted his portrait. The celebration also features his wife and a memorial plaque for both of them in St Margaret’s Church on 17 December 2022 in memory of their marriage there on 17 December 1758.
The year 2022 is the 240th anniversary of the publication of: The Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African, which was a two-volume collection that sold well and delivered to a wide audience in 1782. This project celebrates how the publication has affected lives since then. Sancho’s reflections on enslavement and empire, as well as his own vexed experiences as an educated person of African origin living in London towards the end of the 18th century. The new project which starts in the Autumn 2022 will conduct research on the Sancho family and share its research finding with the community, especially Black Britons.
Heritage will be identified and better explained: The research carried out and explained at workshop will help members of the community, especially Black Britons to better understand their history and heritage.
People will have learnt about heritage, leading to change in ideas and actions. Knowledge of Ignatius Sancho’s life and times will develop in especially African and Caribbean people a better sense of identity, thus resulting in positive changes of ideas and behaviours.
Knowledge of Ignatius Sancho’s life and times will develop in especially Black Britons who seek a stronger sense of identity and belonging, thus resulting in positive changes of ideas and behaviours. Guests at of our event will discover how Sancho dealt with racism and what, if anything, Black Britons can learn from him.
The local area will be a better place to live, work or visit Low The local area will benefit by having more visitors to the City of Westminster, and to St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey. Thus, it will benefit the local economy will be boosted. More visitors will spend money in the City of Westminster as they visit the area.
The Equiano Society was founded by Arthur Torrington and Samuel B. King in London in November 1996. Its main objective is to publicise and celebrate the life and work of Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa, the African. The society also celebrates and publicises the achievements of Equiano’s contemporaries: Ignatius Sancho, Phillis Wheatley, Ottobah Cugoano, and others who made outstanding contributions to African literary and cultural heritage. We are not a debating society, or ask our supporters to become formal members or pay a membership fee. We organise events and activities in the community to which any member of the public is welcome.