December 2017 marked end of Kingston upon Hull’s year as the UK’s City of Culture. One part of Hull’s celebrations was remembering William Wilberforce, ‘the friend of humanity’ and Hull’s ‘most illustrious son’.
Wilberforce’s untiring efforts to abolish the slave trade were rewarded with that famous Act of Parliament of 1807, an event which historian G. M. Trevelyan called ‘one of the turning events in the history of the world’.
William Wilberforce was born in Hull on 24 August 1759. He dedicated his life, to a great extent, to the abolition of the slave trade and ultimately of slavery itself. He said, ‘I have attached my happiness to their cause and shall never relinquish it’.
I am convinced that, if he were alive today, Wilberforce would say the same thing about the conditions of our day, only more so.
He was one of Britain’s greatest social reformers, involved in education and penal reform, along with many other charitable activities, including helping found the RSPCA.