Interpretation & Awareness

Re-imagining International Sites of Enslavement (RISE)

The Bermuda National Trust is a 2021-22 participant in Re-imagining International Sites of Enslavement (RISE), a knowledge-sharing programme that brings together managers of sites around the Atlantic with a connection to the slave trade. The programme is a collaboration between International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) and the American National Trust for Historic Preservation. Practitioners working at INTO member sites are invited to share their experience of interpreting the history of slavery with their peers, with the support of Elon Cook-Lee, Director of Interpretation and Education at the NTHP.’

The RISE programme will strengthen the Trust’s reinterpretion of the many sites under our care and curation associated with the enslavement of people of African descent and related histories of Black resistance and empowerment. We recognise the need to carefully reflect upon, and expand in collaboration with the community, both the stories we tell and the ways we tell them. RISE will help us to do this in ways aligned with the forefront of heritage research and practice. We invite community members who would like to learn more about our participation in RISE and the evolving interpretative plan for the Trust’s museums, wider historic sites, collections and other heritage related to enslavement to contact Head of Cultural Heritage Dr. Charlotte Andrews.

African Diaspora Sign at Verdmont

African Diaspora Heritage Trail Inscription at Verdmont


Vermont Cottage - lower level

Steps to possible quarters of enslaved people at Verdmont

 

Bermuda Slave Registers from 1821 and 1834

The Ombudsman for Bermuda, Arlene Brock, has made available two extensive databases made from the 1821 and 1834 Slave Registers which are held in the Bermuda Archives. The original hand-written Registers were created to facilitate compensation for slave-owners when the slaves would be emancipated. They provide a unique record and valuable research tool for many people who are tracing family or community history.

The databases were developed in searchable Excel format by Dr. Virginia Bernhard of the University of St. Thomas in Houston. They set out the names of owners, the total number of slaves and sex of the owners, the names of slaves, their sex, colour and work. Sadly they do not record the ages and birth places of the slaves, which are therefore only available from the originals on microfilm in the Bermuda Archives. Dr. Bernhard wanted to make these research tools available to the public, and the Bermuda Ombudsman has done so by releasing them to the Trust and two other organisations in Bermuda. In turning these databases over to the Ombudsman, Dr. Bernhard stated: “The Slave Registers are such a treasure. I have no objection to making the databases public – this is my way of saying thank you to Bermuda “. However, she stressed: “these are academic working lists. They are not perfect – there are some gaps and spelling errors”. The Archives are developing their own Slave Register database, but in the meantime the databases developed by Dr Bernhard will serve as useful tools for researchers.

  • 1821 register – pardon our progress as we are updating the data
  • 1834 register – pardon our progress as we are updating the data

    Return of Slaves 1833/34 John H Trott agent for the estate of Samuel Trott (deceased) of Verdmont, 15 October 1833 (Courtesy Bermuda Archives)