Revisiting Sambo’s Grave

Nov 17, 2010 by

Revisiting Sambo’s Grave

Some of you might remember my abortive attempt to visit Sunderland Point, not far from Morecambe, in January last year. This former 18th-century sea port is a sombre, wind-whipped part of the British coastline, and if you make it down the perilous track across the salt marsh without being swamped or cut off by high tide, you’ll find a curious memorial to an unnamed black boy, since nicknamed ‘Sambo’, who, during the height of the slave trade, was cruelly abandoned by a ship’s captain and left to die alone.

Thanks to @RichardBratby for pointing out this interesting piece in yesterday’s Guardian about how the grave of this black boy has made Sunderland Point a tricky place to preserve; some feel the plant life of the salt marsh might benefit from regular flooding, but what about Sambo’s Grave? His burial spot was left unmarked for 60 years, and then a local clergyman, the Reverend James Watson, wrote a stirring poem, which helped to sway public opinion during the anti-slave-trade campaigns of the late 18th century. Sambo’s grave has become an unofficial memorial to a shameful part of British history, but one which must be preserved, even from the encroaching tide, which cuts Sunderland Point off from the mainland twice a day.

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