Young Roots traces the effects of history

Students have celebrated 200 years since the abolition of the slave trade by taking part in a groundbreaking film project.

Northamptonshire County Council joined forces with pupils from Kingsthorpe College and Northamptonshire Black History Association to create the film and exhibition.

The students had been exploring slavery in the past and present in a project called Young Roots, which was funded by a 14,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The aim of the scheme was for students to draw on historical records and carry out research both into what happened in the past and how this influences the present. Pupils also made a film asking many challenging questions and interviewing local people for their views, including whether people should apologise for the slave trade.

Councillor Ursula Jones, cabinet member for voluntary sector, communities and heritage, said: "Archives can tell us so much about our past and help us to understand the society that we have become today. Using them in this innovative way has been a great experience for the students. I hope that whatever they uncover as part of their research, the greatest lesson they'll learn through the project is the importance of respect for the dignity of human life."

The county council's record office is leading the project with the support of the Northamptonshire Black History Association and in partnership with Kingsthorpe College.

The exhibition and film will be available for loan free of charge to schools, libraries and community venues from February 2008. Anyone interested in hosting the exhibition, which consists of eight free standing panels, can contact Jenny Moran at Northamptonshire Record Office on 762129 or email