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Migrants: The Story of Us All

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The Taino people, whom Columbus encountered on Hispaniola in 1492, believed they emerged from two caves on the island. Mukti Jain Campion talks to Ian Murphy, Director of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, to discover how the port of Liverpool became the gateway to millions of new lives abroad, and examines the importance of printed propaganda in fuelling 19th century British emigration with Dr Fariha Shaikh, author and Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Birmingham. On arrival, migrants are expected both to assimilate and encouraged to remain distinctive; to defend their heritage and adopt a new one. It’s a rare feat: a wordless picture book in which the absence of text intensifies the stories it tells. Issa Watanabe has created without a single word, one of the most harrowing portrayals of migration I’ve seen in a book.

In the first in a series of guest posts, Findmypast’s family history experts have created a guide to help you discover if you could be related to someone who was transported to Australia as a convict. Departures: 400 Years of Emigration from Britain – Partner Stories is a national series to accompany the Migration Museum’s Departures exhibition and podcast series.Episode 4: Emigration and Enslavement The 17th century colonisation of North America and the Caribbean by emigrants from the British Isles was, almost from its beginning, dependent on the brutal forced transatlantic migration of millions of enslaved African people. Migrants is a stunning wordless picture book…It is a book which will encourage discussion about what it means to be a refugee and the terrible journey many people have had to endure…It is powerful.

That the legend of Brutus was a ninth century fantasy concocted by a Welsh monk named Nennius – with the aim of affirming a British place in the club of civilisations – need not concern us. It is a history of migration but not just factual as the book is written with empathy and personal anecdotes. Miller maintains that in practice the word ‘migrant’ clumps people whose experience of migration is extremely diverse – slaves and spouses, refugees and retirees, nomads and expats, conquerors and job-seekers.Such a broad definition sees Miller trace the story of migration right back to the first humans, sapiens and Neanderthals.

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