THIS bronze token is one of more than 3,000 objects in the Worcester City Numismatic collection which includes coins, banknotes, and medals.

Made in Birmingham in around 1795, it bears the powerful image of an enslaved African man, bound in chains and pleading with the reader: ‘Am I not a man and a brother?’

When this token was made, Britain was a leading power in the transatlantic slave trade, transporting more than 32,000 enslaved people to America and the Caribbean each year.

This horrific trade was deeply controversial and by the late18th century thousands of people across Britain were campaigning for its abolition.

Worcester was no exception – anti-slavery campaigners were active by the 1780s, distributing literature, organising boycotts and petitions, and arranging visits from famous activists such as Thomas Clarkson and Olaudah Equiano.

The growth of abolitionism happened to coincide with a shortage of small change – campaigners seized the moment by producing tokens with anti-slavery messages.

This token combines the image of a pleading man in chains, the unofficial logo of the abolitionist movement, with a handshake and the slogan ‘May slavery & oppression cease throughout the world’. Released into general currency, tokens helped spread the abolitionist message through purses and pockets nationwide.

This token will feature in a new showcase at The Commandery when it reopens on Tuesday, May 18, alongside a number of other objects from the collection which explore local connections to slavery and colonialisation.

Hear more on Tuesday, May 11, during the ‘Hidden Histories: Worcestershire’s Slave Trade in Coins’ online talk with Dr Murray Andrews.

The next in Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum’s monthly Bite Size Talk series, the talk is free and is online at 1.30pm – those registered can watch at a later time to suit them. Visit - registration closes 11am on the day of the talk.