Liverpool is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of its "Founder of Culture".
Roscoe's opposition to slavery angered city merchants
William Roscoe was a famous poet and anti-slavery campaigner during the 18th Century.
His children's poem - The Butterfly's Ball - was a favourite of King George III, who personally commissioned music to go with it.
The music and the poem were being performed by students from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) at the city's Central Library on Thursday.
A three-month exhibition has also begun about Roscoe's life and work as part of the city's bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2008.
Born in 1753, Roscoe was a self taught man who became a historian, politician, botanist, religious reformer, artist, philanthropist and patron of the arts.
William Roscoe Factfile
1753 - Born in Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, on 8 March
1781 - Marries Jane Griffiths with who he raised several children
Dies in 1831 from influenza and is interred in Renshaw Street Chapel burial ground
His last home was in Lodge Lane, Toxteth
Liverpool has two Roscoe pubs as well as a Roscoe room at the central library
Also an MP, he lost his seat after outraging many of the city's merchants with his opposition to the slave trade, in which Liverpool was deeply involved.
Joyce Little, Head of Libraries, said: "William Roscoe was a prominent advocate of the abolition of slavery at a time when such a stance was deeply unpopular with merchant classes.
"His legacy is vast. In today's world he would be a phenomenon."
Sir Bob Scott, chief executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, said: "Roscoe's contribution to Liverpool's cultural heritage is unparalleled."
The exhibition, at the Central Library, will be open to the public seven days a week.