CARGO: Charting African Resilience Generating Opportunities is an educational book of poetry that inspires hope, encouragement and empowerment by providing a much needed narrative that sets out the accomplishments of a people with a legacy of enslavement, who overcame the pervasive obstacles of racism. When Lawrence reflects on growing up in Bristol during the ’70s and ’80s, he feels that this exclusion and marginalisation is due to history being taught from a solely European perspective, and that this has devalued other cultures and achievements, especially those of African communities impacted by slavery.
The resulting poetry book mixes imagery, poetry, commentary and documents. It uses differing stocks and gatefolds to add a new dimension and tactility to the poetry. The book is cloth covered and foiled in silver, colours inspired by the colour of the ocean, the sight and feel of which would have surrounded the slaves stacked inside the cargo ships during those horrific voyages from Africa, away from home.
The book is the first part of a wider movement, including an immersive exhibition and is the foundation for a series of teaching assets for the UK schools to educate sixth formers on the transatlantic slave trade, funded by Arts Council England.