400 Years Taking The Knee


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This two-part special begins with first years of the European slave trade but fundamentally focuses on the individuals who fought & struggled against colonialism, slavery, and their legacies. Insisting on the importance of individuals and their ability to resist historical conditions – to shoulder burdens and to break down walls – it covers 400 years of intertwining British and American histories.

Divided in two parts, the first investigates the different struggles in the gradual labour of breaking down the system of slavery. It looks to the violent resistance that occurred within the Atlantic system, inspiring defiance, and fracturing the machine piecemeal, but also to the literary and political organising in the abolitionary process.

The second part deals with very different sorts of struggles: the legacies of slavery and colonialism and how they have been patterned out and resisted up to the present day. It turns again to literary composers, political organisers and to especially resonant symbolic moments, reminding us of the importance of remembering those who have pioneered, resisted, spoken out and paved the way.

UK | 2020 | 86 mins

Narrated by

Dotun Adebayo MBE

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