Check out interesting facts and achievements from the Black and Asian community
Marson The First
Una Marson arrived in London in 1932, aged 27, and within a few years she had added being BBC's first black female programme-maker to her list of accolades – which already included being a published poet and playwright.
More Facts & Surprises
Early Indians in Britain
The formation of the East India Company in the 17th Century indicates by Company records that there were many applications for the return of Indian servants to their Ships that travelled between England and India between 1690 and 1702. The first indications of "working visas" perhaps.
Serious Immigration Curbs
The Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 and Immigration Act 1971 largely restricted any further "No ties to Britain" primary immigration, although family members of already-settled migrants were still allowed.
Meghan The Second
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex was NOT the first mixed race Member of the Royal Family. This was in fact, Charlotte Sophia(1744-1818) who was the Queen Consort to George III the Third. they produced 15 children . Sophia is the Great Grandmother of the current Queen's late Father - George VI.
Hunte The Pioneer of Race Equality In The UK
The West Indian Standing Conference (WISC) was formed in 1958 and indeed the concept of race equality in the UK is claimed to have been " designed by its originator, Joseph Alexander Hunte, as a panacea to halt the spread of racial riots of 1958 in Notting Hill, London and Nottingham."
Mo Farah: Simply The Best Ever
Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah CBE OLY is most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. He was the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in both the 5000 m and 10,000 m. Farah only the second athlete in modern Olympic Games history, after Lasse Virén, to win both the 5000 m and 10,000 m titles at successive Olympic Games. Overall he has won ten global titles.
How Muhammed Ali Helped Create A British World Champion
Did you know that British Boxing World Light Heavyweight Champion, John Conteh(1974-1978) became a Light Heavyweight on the direct advice of the legendary Muhammed Ali who said he was not powerful enough to compete at Heavyweight as he wished ?
Souza The Art Giant
From 1956 to 1966, Indian born Francis Newton Souza was arguably the most dominant Artist in Britain , exhibiting and outselling all other Artists in Britain during this period.
Equiano's Mighty Pen
Olaudah Equiano, ex -slave and now active abolitionist ,published his autobiography in 1789 The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African' . This insight into the horrific slavery helped influence British lawmakers to abolish transatlantic enslavement through the Slave Trade Act of 1807
Seaman Hall Is Able To Get A VC
Able Seaman William Hall was the first Black recipient of the Victoria Cross. He earned the award while serving with the Naval Brigade on 'HMS Shannon' in 1857 whilst helping to resist an Indian Mutiny.
The Opening Shots.....Literally
Did you know that Alhaji Grunshi DCM MM, serving in the Gold Coast Regiment, was the first soldier in British service to fire a shot in the First World War in August 1914?
The African Sacrifice in World War 2
The total number of East and West Africans who saw military service in the war was 374,000; 3,387 were killed and 5,549 were wounded.)
Black Pilots In The Battle Of Britain
One of the first West Indians to join the RAF, Vincent Bunting of Jamaica, participated in the Battle of Britain. By 1944, there were over 4,000 West Indians in the RAF, of whom some four hundred were air crew.
The Powerful Indian Pound
Indians in 18th Century Georgian England were responsible for the purchase of many of the magnifiicent Estates in England and indeed the Indian pound in England extended to purchasing some seats to sit in the House of Commons as unlected Members of Parliament.
Race, Riots & Lynchings in England
The end of World War I saw a marked increase in Black Brtish Seaman being refused work on British ships in favour of white nationals and other foreigners. Tensions began to rise in areas such as Cardiff, Liverpool and Newport and local and national newspapers coverng the Race Riots that broke out in the summer of 1919 mentioned murders by lynch mobs of Black citizens.
The Black Mayor of Battersea
John Richard Archer became London's first Black Mayor on 10th November 1913 aged fifty years old when he was elected mayor of Battersea
Eric The First
Eric Irons OBE (1921-2007) made history in 1962 when he was appointed Britain's first black magistrate; he sat on the Nottingham bench for 29 years until his retirement in 1991.
Ashley Cole, who played mainly for Arsenal and Chelsea, was capped 107 times for England between 2001 and 2014 . Only 5 players have ever played more times than him for the England national football team and no Black player has ever appeared more times for England.
Howzat For Hussain Again
Former England Cricket Test Captain Nasser Hussain ( 1990-2004) played 96 times for England, scoring 5764 runs at an average of 37.18 ( 14 centuries and 33 50's) making him England's most successful BAME England Test Match Batsmen of all time and 18th in the list of cricketers who have ever batted for England. It is unlikely that his record will ever be broken by a BAME player.
Howzat For A Surprise ?
England Cricket Test Star Moheen Ali took 181 Test Wickets for England between 2006-20019 making him the most successful BAME England Test Match Bowler of all time and in the the top 20 of cricketers who have ever bowled for England. Not bad for someone who was considered as a part time bowler when he was first selected for England.
First Black Bishop
Samuel Crowther(1806-1892) was the first Black man on record to be ordained as a Bishop. This was for the United Church of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Samuel Ajayi Crowther was born in Nigeria.
The Rise Of The Lascars
Did you know that between 1803 and 1813, there were more than 10,000 lascars from the Indian subcontinent visiting British port cities and towns? These were South Asian ( mainly Bengali and Muslim) Sailors mainly to work on British ships and ports.
Enoch Powell's Shameful Legacy
British Asians faced discrimination and racism following Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech and the establishment of the National Front in the late 1960s. This included overt racism in the form of Paki bashing, predominantly from white power skinheads, the National Front, and the British National Party, throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Black Talent TV Special 1947
Evelyn Dove , Edric Connor, Mable Lee, Cyril Blake and his Calypso Band, Buddy Bradley, Winifred Atwell, and Adelaide Hall plus others performed in Variety in Sepia, an early example of a UK television special dedicated to Black talent, filmed live at the RadiOlympia Theatre, Alexandra Palace, London, and aired on BBC TV on 7th October 1947.
The Black Champion without Titles
Len Johnson (1902-1974) - was from Manchester and was a successful boxer in the 1920s, but was denied titles because he was black. Len later became an active member of the Communist Party of Great Britain
4th Century African Briton
Hi Tech archaeology and historical research show that in Roman Britain there were many individuals of African heritage of all classes. The 4th century ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ of York and ‘The Beachy Head Lady’ from sub-Saharay n Africa, is thought to have lived in East Sussex c. 200 AD.
No White People Please
A newspaper report from 1764 also describes how 57 black men and women ate, drank and entertained themselves with dancing and music - from violins, French horns and other instruments - until four in the morning, at a public-house in Fleet Street. No white people were allowed to be present, and all the performers were black.
Picton's Land Legacy
Cesar Picton was a former servant, who became a coal merchant in Kingston-upon-Thames, and was wealthy enough by the time he died to be able to bequeath two acres of land, and a house with wharf and shops attached.
Paul Reaney of Leeds United was not open about his Black Heritage that history has not recognised that he and NOT Viv Anderson in 1978 was the first Black Player to play Senior Football for England. Reaney won the first of his two caps in 1968 ,some 10 years before Anderson.
STILL Bending Like Beckham
The 2002 Film "Bend it Like Beckham" is still the most successful British Asian themed film ever. To date it has grossed over £58m ($75m) in worldwide sales.
Indian Workers Unite
The Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) was founded in 1958 from a number of existing organisations. It campaigned on social and welfare issues including discrimination. It had good links with the British trade union movement. Key figures were Avtar Jouhl and Jagmohan Joshi.
A Sign of the Times
“No blacks, no Irish, no dogs” signs were common place in the 60's but helped to highlight the treatment of Blacks and Asians in Britain. During Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s term (1964-1970 & 1974-1976) he introduced tighter controls on immigration but also introduced legislation that made racial discrimination a legal offence
The Princess Suffragette
Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh, was a prominent suffragette and member of the Women’s Social and Political Union. On 18 November 1910, known as ‘Black Friday’, Sophia led a 400-strong demonstration to parliament together with Emmeline Pankhurst
Really Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate - The band became the only group, and one of just three acts, that had a hit in every year of the 1970s in the UK Pop Charts (the other two being Elvis Presley and Diana Ross)
The Mordern Magnificent Mosque
The Baitul Futuh Mosque, also known as the Morden Mosque, is Britain’s largest mosque, and one of the largest in western Europe. Located in Morden, south west London, about 10,000 Muslims flock to this beautiful place of worship every week for Friday prayers
St Pauls and The Mosques
Christopher Wren(1632-1723), the architect behind St. Paul’s Cathedral was so impressed with Islamic architecture and the beauty of architecture in Ottoman and Moorish mosques that he wanted to re create it in his work. You can easily see the influence of the Islamic style on St. Paul’s cathedral. A man with good taste!
Henry VII and Henry VIII employed black musicians and servants in their courts.
No Apprenticeships Says London's Mayor
Most black people, if they escaped their masters, were doomed to live in poverty. In 1731, the Lord Mayor of London, responding to moral panic about the size of the non-white population in the city, banned them from holding company apprenticeships.
Prince and A West Indian Slave
Mary Prince was the first Black woman to write and publish an autobiography ‘The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave,' an account of the horrors of life on the plantations enslavement, published in Britain c.1831. Mary Prince was also the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to Parliament.
Race To Court ?
Between the 1968 and 1975 Race Relations Acts,there were numerous other cases brought to the Race Relations Board . In the 336 cases referred to the Board, 33 went to court. Of these, 23 were found in favour of the Race Relations Board.
Undisputed Heavyweight Champion
In 1999, Lennox Lewis became the first British undisputed heavyweight champion unifying the IBF, WBA and WBC titles since Bob Fitzsimmon for 100 years.
18th Century UK Blacks
In 1700, about 15,000 black people lived in London. This fact puts into context the false association of the arrival of the Ship HM Windrush almost 250 years later in 1948, as the start of a significant Black presence in London.
The Black Emperor who Lived In York
Septimus Severus, the Black Emperor and the World's richest man ever, was born in Libya but spent his last three years in Britain before he died in York in 211AD.
The First Black Newspaper In Britain
The Pan-African was the first publication for and by blacks in Britain and grew out of the first Pan-African Conference in 1900.
Haseeb The History Maker
When Haseeb Hameed made his Cricket Test Debut, he became the youngest debutant to open for England in a Test match, when he played in the first Test against India at Rajkot on 9 November 2016, aged just 19.
Naoroji The First
Elected Liberal MP for Finsbury in 1892, Dadabhai Naoroji was the first Indian nationalist politician to win a seat in parliament, despite Lord Salisbury’s jibe that the British people would not accept a ‘black man’ as an MP
Amir Khan And Did
Amir Khan( WBA (later Super) World Champion 2009 to 2012, and the IBF World Champion, 2011) become a cultural icon in the UK with TV audiences of up to 8 million watching him fight.
The Great Indian War Effort
India lost 65,000 Soldiers fighting alongside Britain in World War II. Overall India had 180,000 casualties. Their bravery is reflected in more than 1,400 military awards Indian Soldiers received including 31 Victoria Crosses - the highest Military Award.
Africa's Rich British Music Heritage
From Sade To Stormzy. From Seal to Tinie Tempah. From Dizzie Rascal to Tinchy Stryder . All famous icons on the Black British musical journey and all artists who originated from either Ghana or Nigeria.
Lovers Rock British Black Legacy
The Lovers Rock sound that emerged from the South London Sound Systems of the 1970's is seen as the first musical genre of the second generation of young Black Britons. Sandra Cross, Carol Thompson were amongst the pioneers before Janet Kay took "Silly Games" to the verge of No.1 in the UK Charts in 1981.
The Mirpur Family of Bradford
Bradford, is home to around 85,000 British Asians: there are 5,000 Hindus, and as many Sikhs; but the bulk of Asians, 75,000, are predominantly from a single area in Azad Kashmir: Mirpur.
Farah The Greatest Athlete Ever ?
Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah, CBE OLY is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. He was the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in both the 5000 m and 10,000 m. Farah is only the second athlete in modern Olympic Games history, after Lasse Virén, to win both the 5000 m and 10,000 m titles at successive Olympic Games.
British Bangladeshi's Lowest Income Group
British Bangladeshis have the highest overall relative poverty rate of any ethnic group in the UK with 65% of Bangladeshis living in low income households.
British People Shower Letters Of Support For Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech
UK History has recorded Enoch Powell MP's infamous April 1968 "Rivers of Blood" speech about what he feared would be the result of unchecked migration to the UK. He was sacked from his shadow cabinet role by the Leader of the Opposition, Edward Heath. However of the 110,000 off letters he received about the speech, only 2,200 odd were in in protest about what he said.
From Youth Worker To UK Civil Rights Activist
Paul Stephenson who led on the organisation of the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963, a campaign to stop the local Bus Company refusing to employ Black people , was a Youth Worker by profession. He is credited as the author of the UK Black Civil Rights movement.
Liverpool's Historic Claim
Did you know that the oldest continuous Black Community in Britain is credited as being in Liverpool and many years before Windrush in 1948? From the 1700's you can trace a continued black presence emerging from the sea faring ports of Merseyside .
Bigger Bangla Media
The Bangla ethnic media in the UK is one of the world's oldest and largest Bangla media and has earned a leading reputation with 5 TV channels and over 12 Bangla and English ethnic dailies/weeklies.
Basu Brings Terror To His Role
In March 2018, Neil Basu becames first Asian officer to the take top counterterror role with his appointment as head of counterterrorism at the Metropolitan Police
Tamils Flee Civil War
A phase of Sri Lankan migration to the UK occurred from the 1980s onwards, during the civil war in Sri Lanka. A large number of Tamil Sri Lankans sought asylum in the UK
Bajans On The Buses And Underground
Migrants from Barbados regularly found employment with roles on the British Double Decker Buses and the Underground. In fact by 1968, over 3,700 Bajans were employed by London Transport.
Bajans On The Buses And Underground
Migrants from Barbados regularly found employment with roles on the British Double Decker Buses and the Underground. In fact by 1968, over 3,700 Bajans were employed by London Transport.
The Hidden Twist & Shout behind Lord Woodbine UK Stay
When Harold Phillips arrived on HM Empire Windrush in 1948 from Trinidad & Tobago , he and Lord Kitchener bought more than the incredible calypso sound. “Lord Woodbine”, as Phillips was more famously known as, was to become the first manager of an emerging band called......The Beatles.
Black Influence On British Pop Culture
Did you know that Black Blue Beat Culture which influenced the development of Ska, Rocksteady and then Reggae is credited with influencing the UK music scene particularly the Mod, Skinhead and Punk movements of the 1960's & 1970's ?
Beginning of The End of The UK Slave Trade
In 1772, Lord Mansfield court ruling that a slave who has deserted his master could not be taken by force to be sold abroad. Verdict triggers black flight from their owners, the decline of slavery in England, and calls by Equiano and others for the abolition of the slave trade.
Kicked Out To Make History
Claudia Jones recognised for her founding role of the Notting Hill Carnival and the West Indian Gazette Newspaper was an active black nationalist and Communist Jones was deported from the United States for her political activities and campaigns to the United Kingdom in 1955
Seacole Refused Request To Assist
Mary Seacole's historic role in the Crimean War is now recognised. However when Seacole applied to the British War Office to assist she was actually refused.
No Boots For Salim is No problem
Mohammed Salim, an Indian from Calcutta, came to play for Celtic in the 1936-37 season…in bare feet and impressed all who watched but then dissappeared back to India
Punjabi Soliders In British Army
The ties between the British and the Punjab region of India go back a long way. From 1857 onwards many Punjabis served in the British army
The Queen & The Black Migrants
In 1596, Queen Elizabeth I issued letters to the lord mayors of major cities asserting that "of late divers blackmoores brought into this realm, of which kind of people there are already here to manie..
Refugees Take Flight
Most Bangladeshi families in the UK in the present time are the result of large scale migration in the early 1970s from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh, as people fled from the civil unrest in their homeland
The First Black Newspaper
Founded in July 1912 by Duse Mohamed Ali, The ‘Africa Times and Orient Review'was the first political journal produced by and for Black people ever published in Britain. It was printed in Fleet Street in London. Marcus Garvey was a staff writer at the newspaper.
Kapoor Wins Turner Award
Anish Kapoor, a British-Indian Sculptor received the highly acclaimed Turner Prize for Art in 1991
Black Woman Blackman Becomes Children Laureate
In June 2013, Malorie Blackman, the prize-winning author becomes Britain's first black children's laureate. She held the position until 2015.
New Home For Black Cultural Archives
After almost 35 years of campaigning, The Black Cultural Archives(BCA) was giving its permanent home right in the heart of Brixton in 2014.BCA was founded in 1981, by educationalist and historian Len Garrison and others. The BCA's building in Brixton enables access to the archive collection, provides dedicated learning spaces and mounts a programme of exhibitions and events.
McQueen Makes History At Oscars
In 2014, British Film Maker, Steve McQueen made history by becoming the first film ever made by a Black Director to win the Oscars for the Best Picture Award.
182 Year Slavery Debt
Slavery was abolished in the UK in 1833 but it was not until 2015, some 182 years later that Britains debt to the Slaveowners was finally paid off. And yet the question of reparations for the descendants of African Slaves has never been settled.
The Royal Black Trumpeteer
A black musician is among the six trumpeters depicted in the royal retinue of Henry VIII in the Westminster Tournament Roll, an illuminated manuscript dating from 1511
Change of Guard in British Tradition
In December 2012, Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar, a Sikh soldier, became the first to guard Buckingham Palace without a bearskin and is allowed to wear his turban instead. It broke over 180 years of tradition.
The Black Roman Soliders
African soldiers who served as part of the Roman army were stationed at Hadrian's Wall during the 2nd century AD
The Spy Who Watched You ?
In January 2019, The Guardian Newspaper publishes witness testimony that the founder, Peter Hornsby, of "The Flamingo" which ran from 1961-1965 was an agent for the intelligence service, MI6. It claims it used the magazine to push an anti-communist agenda among Black and West Indian communities.
Fanny the Famous Model
Fanny Eaton (23 June 1835 – 4 March 1924) was a Jamaican-born artist's model and domestic worker. She is best known for her work as a model for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their circle between 1859–67. Her public debut was in Simeon Solomon's The Mother of Moses, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1860
Edmonstone Teaches Charles Darwin A Lesson or Two
Charles Darwin is almost larger than life in his impact on scientific thinking. However did you know he was taught by a freed Slave, Black Teacher called John Edmonstone who taught Charles Darwin the very basics of the natural science? He taught taxidermy at Edinburgh University in the 19th Century
Britains Muslim Spy
Nora Inayat-Khan, was Britain's first Muslim war heroine renowned for her service in the Special Operations Executive(SOE) in World War Two. She was also a published author who was posthumously awarded the George Cross , the highest civilian decoration in the UK. As an SOE agent she became the first female wireless operator to be sent from Britain into occupied France to aid the French Resistance during World War II, and was Britain's first Muslim war heroine.
Black Ban In Britain
Did you know that despite the service of British West Indian Soliders in the First World War, Black Soliders were banned from taking part in London's victory celebrations on 19 July 1919?
Sanderson's Spectacular Six
"Tessa" Sanderson, CBE ,former javelin thrower is the only Athlete in Track & Field to compete in six Olympic Games in the javelin (1976–1996). She won the gold medal in 1984 for Great Britain.
Andrew Watson (1856 –1921) is widely considered to be the world's first black person to play association football and also at international level. He played three matches for Scotland between 1881 and 1882. He was actually the Captain of Scotland in his first match.
Less than twelve out of 3,000 professional footballers in the top four divisions are of south Asian – countries such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – origin.
A Black and White Matter
On 15 May 1979, an all black team came together for one game to honour a friend.It would surely be inconceivable now but no-one batted an eyelid 30-odd years ago when an All White Team played each other for Len Cantello’s testimonial match came up with a novel way of marking his decade of service to West Bromwich Albion.
The Massive Mosque In Morden
The Morden Mosque in, London is not only Britain's largest mosque,but also the largest mosque of western Europe. The mosque covers an area of 5.2 acres (21,000 m2) and the full complex can accommodate up to 10,000 worshipers
Most Diverse Parliament In History
The 2017 General Election set a new record number of ethnic minority MPs in the new House of Commons – with 52 non-white parliamentarians elected compared to 41 in the 2015 Parliament. It included the first MP with Arab roots and Britain’s first ever female Sikh MP.
Self Defence Before Offence
The Bradford 12 Trial in April 1982 and the verdict on 16 June 1982 caused legal history because it successfully established the doctrine that you were legally entitled to defend yourself against an attack before it was even planned let alone take place. Look at the Our Heritage TV Timeline for more details on this truly historic case.
First Class Nowrojee
The first Indian student to enter British Higher Education was credited as Dhunjeebhoy Nowrojee in 1843 at the Free Church College in Edinburgh. He studied Theology and was ordained in 1846
Most Indian Resturants Are Not Actually
South Asians have had lasting impact on popular British culture with the spread of Indian cuisine. However, most of the 9,000 Indian restaurants in the UK, are run by Bangladeshi's.
Jay Sean's not Down
In 2009, Jay Sean's American debut single "Down" topped the Billboard Hot 100, making him the first solo artist of South Asian origin and first UK urban act to top the Hot 100. It sold more than three million copies in the United States that year eventually reaching six million sales in the United States,This made him the most successful British/European male urban artist in US chart history at that point.
Britain's Richest Man is Asian
Britain based Indian Lakshmi Mittal is currently Britain's richest man and the fifth richest man in the world. He has an estimated wealth of around $55 Billion.
Not A Patch on Apache Indian
Apache Indian was a 90's Hip Hop Star who infused reggae and hip hop with Indian popular music to create a sound that transcended genre and found a multicultural audience. He is the only Indian artist to have achieved 6 top forty hits in the National UK charts
The Real First Asian MP ?
David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre, was an Anglo-Indian held to be the first person of Asian descent to be elected to the British Parliament to represent the Sudbury constituency in July 1841, but was removed in April 1842 due to bribery in the election process. Hence why Dadabhai Naoroji is credited as the first Asian to be a Brtish MP, more than 50 years after the actual first Asian MP was elected
Hamed Is No.1
Boxer Naseem Hamed who held multiple world championships at featherweight, including the WBO title from 1995 to 2000; the IBF title in 1997; and the WBC title from 1999 to 2000;reigned as lineal champion from 1998 to 2001; IBO champion from 2002 to 2003; is ranked as the best British featherweight boxer of all time by BoxRec. In 2015 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Naoroji The First
Dadabhai Naoroji , known as the Grand Old Man of India, was a Liberal Party member of Parliament (MP) between 1892 and 1895, and the first Asian to be a British MP.
Britains First Mosque
Abdullah Quilliam was a 19th-century convert from Christianity to Islam is noted for founding England's first mosque and Islamic centre in 1889.
The Lascars - The first UK South Asian Migrants
38 South Asians Sailors ( Lascars) were reported coming to work in England in 1760 to work for the British East India Company.Between 1803 and 1813, there were more than 10,000 lascars from the Indian subcontinent visiting British port cities and towns
Khan 's Historic Military Honour
(Jemadar) Abdul Hafiz Khan was 18 years old and served with the 9th. Jat. Regiment, Indian Army. He died bravely in 1944 and became the youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross - Britain's highest Military Honour
More than 8 out of 10 Sikhs own their own home
In 2004 it was reported that UK Sikhs had the highest percentage of home ownership, at 82%, out of all UK religious communities
Labouring Hard At Sea
Did you know that before the 2nd World War started, 1 in 4 of Labourers in British Shipping were Indian ? This numbered around 50,000 workers
Visiting The Doctor For Herbal Remedies
In London in the 1850's, a common sight was a Doctor Bonkanky who was an Indian Street Herbalist who had a remedy for most aches and pains from headache to toothache.
Rehman The First
Zeshan Rehman was the first British Asian to start a Premier League match. It was for Fulham in a goalless draw at Anfield against Liverpool on 17 April 2004.
A Blatant Act of Discrimination
Did you know that the 1968 Commonwealth Immigration Act was steamrolled through Parliament in just three days?. Its sole aim was to restrict the right of Kenyan Asians holding British Passports to enter Britain.
A Stamp of Approval
On 6 April 2013 , the first Black Mayor elected in London, John Archer, was honoured by Royal Mail via a special stamp in the as one of six people selected as subjects for the “Great Britons”
A Racing 3rd, 2nd and 1st
When Guyanese born Sprinter Harry Edwards won a Bronze in the 100 and 200 yards dashes at the Olympics Games in Antwerp in 1908, he became Britain's first ever non white Track Medalist.
Dame Shirley Bassey, the Black Legendary Singer from Wales is still the only Artist to Record Three James Bond Theme Tune Singles:
"Goldfinger" from the film Goldfinger (1964)
"Diamonds Are Forever" from the film Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
"Moonraker" from the film Moonraker (1979)
Colour By Numbers
The 2011 Census shows that overall, black communities (including Black African, Black Caribbean, Black American or Black European) make up 3.4 percent of Britain’s overall population which now stands at 56.1 million – an increase of seven percent since 2001.
The Angel Princess
Did you know that Ethopian Princess Tsehai Haile Selassie fourth child of Emperor Haile Selassie and Empress Menen Asfaw of Ethiopia,was a UK state registered children's nurse? She was employed at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children during the London Blitz of 1940/41.
Greatest of All Time ?
When Randolph Turpin or Randy Turpin,became world middleweight champion by defeating Sugar Ray Robinson on 10 July 1951, it was regarded and is still regarded as the greatest upset in Boxing History. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001.
Still Undisputed Heavyweight Champion ?
Britain's Lennox Lewis who boxed between 1989 and 2003 is STILL as of November 2020, the last undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World -holding all recognized Titles - the WBA, WBC, IBF and Ring Magazine lineal Heavyweight Champion. He won 38 of his 45 professional contests.
MOBOS Keep Their Mojo
The MOBO Awards "Music of Black Origin", established in 1996 by Kanya King and Andy Ruffell, has become one of Europe’s biggest and most influential music award ceremonies, celebrating excellence in black music in the UK and internationally in the musical fields of hip-hop, grime, RnB, soul, reggae, jazz, gospel, and African music.
Israelites Are No.1
The first Jamaican performers to reach number one in Britain were Desmond Dekker and the Aces with "Israelites" in 1969
The Mangrove Trial
After marching on a police station in 1970 to protest unfair police treatment and discrimination Crichlow and eight others including Darcus Howe were charged with incitement to riot in 1971. Their trial lasted 55 days and eventually the Mangrove Nine were acquitted. The case is still seen as the most significant ever for UK Black Civil Rights due to highlighting the racism that was rife in the London Metropolitan police.
Academic Poor Standards
In 2017, The Higher Education Statistics Authority revealed that universities are employing more black staff as cleaners, receptionists or porters than as lecturers or professors.
The Blacked Beggars
The likes of Billy Waters and Joseph Johnson made an artistic spectacle out of their poverty - they became underworld celebrities, and were so well rewarded that by the 1850s many white beggars had begun to black up.
Rag To Riches
A parliamentary report in 1815 claimed that one enslaved person had been able to return to the West Indies with a fortune of £1,500
The Historic Calypso Show
The 1948 London West End Musical "Calypso" was the first London play to have a West Indian theme and a Caribbean Cast.
Leashley The First ?
According to public records, the first Black man recorded as a Prize Fighter was a Joe Leashley -a man of African descent who defeated a Tom Treadway in June 1791. He was reported as having great skill, craft and knowledge of the Art before knocking out his opponent after 35 minutes. No such thing as 3 minute rounds then.
The Stolen Princess and Queen Victoria
Sara Forbes Bonetta, otherwise spelled Sarah (1843 – 1880), was a West African Egbado princess of the Yoruba people (Omoba Aina ) who was orphaned in intertribal warfare, sold into slavery and, in a remarkable twist of events, was liberated from enslavement and became a goddaughter to Queen Victoria.
The African And The Mary Rose
Did you know Jacque Francis was an African Diver who was sent to attempt to salvage the wreck of the famous Mary Rose Ship that had sunk in 1545?.
The Racing Prince
Ras Prince Monolulu (26 October 1881 – 14 February 1965) whose real name was Peter Carl Mackay (or McKay), was a horse-racing tipster, and something of an institution on the British racing scene from the 1920s until the time of his death. He was particularly noticeable for his brightly coloured clothing; as a tipster, one of his best known phrases was the cry "I gotta horse!", which was subsequently the title of his memoirs.
Britain's Hidden Black & Asian History
People of African and Asian origin have lived in Britain for at least two thousand years.However this aspect of our heritage has been largely forgotten or hidden.
Billy The First
Billy Boston is credited as the first Black Rugby League player to represent the Great Britain and Ireland Lions on their Rugby League Tour to Australia in 1954
Howzat For Hussain
In June 1999, Nasser Hussain was appointed England Cricket Captain. It was the first time an Indian born Cricketer was appointed to the Captaincy.
Bus Company's Dream Move
On the 28 August 1963 the Bristol Bus Company lifted the employment colour ban. This was the same day that Martin Luther King Jr made his “I have a dream speech” in the United States.
The First Black Londoner?
The earliest known record of a Black person living in London is of "Cornelius a Blackamoor" whose burial on 2nd March 1593 was recorded in the parish register at St Margaret's Church in Lee.
Biggest Black Protest In Britain
In the wake of the deaths of 13 young people in an arson attack in 1981 the New Cross Massacre Action Committee mobilised 20,000 people in protest.
The Race Riots 1919
White and Black community clashed in 1919. Following WW1, men who were demobilised in Cardiff found there was a shortage of work and resented competing for jobs with black workers. Riots in Liverpool, Newcastle, Newport and Cardiff saw black people driven from their homes and violently attacked, and several people killed in the midst of the chaos.
The Coloured Bar in Oxford Street
Did you know that Jocelyn Barrow led a successful campaign to remove the Colour Bar that existed in all the shops in the iconic Oxford Street and Regent Street in the early 1960's? Black or Asian Workers were not allowed to work in shop fronts serving customers.Barrow was the General Secretary for the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination(CARD). CARD played a major role in persuading the Government to pass the 1968 Race Relation Act which covered employment.
Dancing In The Streets and Houses
Calypso is seen as the first musical culture bought to the UK by Afro-Caribbean migrants. Although associated most with Trinidad & Tobago, the sound in fact originated from African "Highlife" Music.
The Somerset Open & Shut Case Against Slavery ?
Somerset v Stewart (1772) 98 ER 499 is a famous judgment of the Court of King's Bench in 1772, which held that chattel slavery was unsupported by the common law in England and Wales, although the position elsewhere in the British Empire was left ambiguous.So it confirmed Slavery was NEVER legal in England and Wales.
Equaiano The Slave Author
During the late 18th century, numerous publications and memoirs were written about the "black poor". One example is the writings of Equiano, a former slave who became an unofficial spokesman for Britain's Black community. His memoir about his life entitled The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.
Official Royal Displeasure
In 1596, Queen Elizabeth I's privy council issued letters to the lord mayors of major cities asserting that "of late divers blackmoores brought into this realm, of which kind of people there are already here to manie...".
By Royal Appointment
Blackamoor servants were perceived as a fashionable novelty and were popular in the homes of the wealthy, including that of Queen Elizabeth I.
Black Britannia ?
There is evidence of people with African (including North African) ancestry in Roman Britain. A craniometric study of 22 individuals from Southwark, Roman London, found that four of them appeared to be of African ancestry, and the isotopic analysis of their bones suggested childhoods spent in a climate warmer than Roman Britain.
The Pinnacle of Mangrove ?
The 1969-70 Mangrove Campaign, is still seen as the high point of black power’s influence in Britain.
Three's Never A Crowd
Danny, Rod and Ray Wallace appeared for Southampton FC on 22 October 1988 in a match at The Dell against Sheffield Wednesday in the English 1st Division. This was the first time three brothers had played in the same team in English professional top-flight football since 1920.
Barnes The First
In April 1988 - Liverpool and England Winger John Barnes completed a unique double by winning the Football Writers Association Player of the Year Award and thus became the first Black Player to win both awards in the same season.
Britain's First Black Queen ?
Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III and, like him, of German descent. However it is believed she also had African ancestry leading many people to dub her Britain's first Black Queen.
First Britons Were Black
A jaw dropping scientific DNA analysis of Britain’s oldest complete skeleton in February 2018 revealed that the first modern Britons, who lived about 10,000 years ago, had “dark to black” skin.
Tessa The First
When Javelin Star Tessa Sanderson won Olympic Gold in 1984, she was the first British Black Woman to win an Olympic Gold medal.
Lawrence Law Legacy.
The murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 eventually led to a change in the law to allow for one defendant to be tried having been previously acquitted after a failed prosecution. This is known as ‘double jeopardy’, which means that someone can be tried twice for the same crime.
National Race Riots
In 1921 Race Riots swept Britain with Black Businesses and Black Sailors targeted. Cardiff, Glasgow , Liverpool, London were the scenes of disturbances blamed on housing shortages.
Garvey Comes To London.
In 1912, Leader of a Black nationalist movement, Marcus Garvey moved to London and used the publication . African Times and Orient Review to push for ideas that led to calls for people to return to Africa
From Manchester To Africa - The Path To African Independence
The fifth Pan-African Congress, held in Manchester, England in October 1945, was a major event of the 20th century. Decisions taken at this conference led to the independence of African countries .
Glaisyer Not Archer The First
History generally recalls John Archer as London's first and UK's first Black Mayor. In fact Allan Glaysier was the first Black Mayor to be elected as far back in 1904. Archer was elected in 1913.
The Bristol Bus Boycott
Black and Asian people in Bristol boycotted the Bus Service for 60 Days in 1963 because of the refusal of the Bristol Omnibus Company to employ Black or Asian bus crews in the city of Bristol, England.
13 Victoria Crosses Lucky For Some
As a result of their brave service in World War Two, 13 "Colonial Soldiers" were awarded the Victoria Cross
Exodus From East Africa
Beginning around 1964 Africanization policies in East Africa prompted the arrival of Asians with British passports from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Hindus And The Health Service
The first wave of Hindus in the United Kingdom was before India's independence in 1947. In the early 1950's the Conservative Health Minister, Enoch Powell recruited a large number of doctors from the Indian sub-continent.
Making The Count
The 2011 UK Census recorded 1,451,862 residents of Indian, 1,174,983 of Pakistani and 451,529 of Bangladeshi ethnicity, making a total South Asian population of 3,078,374 (4.9 per cent of the total population), excluding other Asian groups and people of mixed ethnicity
10 Years after the landing of The Windrush in 1948, there were around 125,000 West Indians in the UK. In that same period around 55,000 migrants from India and Pakistan also arrived.
Right Up Your Street ?
South Asians have also played a pivotal role in rejuvenating a number of UK street markets. According to the New Economics Foundation, Queen's Market in Upton Park, East London is officially the most ethnically diverse.
Historic Doomsday Black Image
The earliest image of a Black Briton is thought to be from an abbreviated version of the Doomsday Book which was used to collect taxes and dates from 1211.
Mary Seacole Mobile War Hospitals
Did you know Black Nurse Mary Seacole actually set up "The British Hotel" which was a mobile hospital unit for injured British Soldiers in the 19th Century Crimean War. ?
Black Presence In Verse
A poem in 1508 by William Dunbar is taken as evidence of the Black presence in Britain in the 16th Century
Welch Sweet Music
Elisabeth Welch was one of the first Black persons to have her own BBC radio series in 1935, Soft Lights and Sweet Music, which made her a household name in Britain.
First Among Equals
When Baron Singh of Wimbledon was introduced in the House of Lords on 24 October 2011, he became the first member of the House of Lords to wear a turban
Sancho The Pioneer
Ignatius Sancho was a composer, actor, writer and businessman. He was believed to be the first Black person ever to have voted in Britain in 1774 and 1780. Sancho was also the first African writer whose work was published in England
The 1958 Anti Black Riots
The Notting Hill area of London and in Nottingham saw a short but vicious outbreak of anti-black rioting in the summer of 1958. The following year a young black man named Kelso Cochrane was murdered in North Kensington. His killer was never found.
Paul The Firsts
Paul Ince was the first black player to captain England, when he took the armband in a tour match against the USA in 1993 and was also the first black Briton to manage a top flight team in England (Blackburn Rovers) in 2008
Indians Dock in England
Immigration of small numbers of South Asians to England began with the arrival of the East India Company to the Indian subcontinent in the 17th century. Indians came to Britain, for educational or economic reasons, during the British Raj, with most returning to India after a few months or years
13th Century Skilled Craftsmen
In Northamptonshire, financial records from 1205 show King John employed a man called 'Peter the Saracen' as a 'maker of crossbows'. The term 'saracen' was used to describe someone of North African or Middle Eastern origin. It suggests there may have been a presence of skilled African craftspeople in England dating back to the middle ages
The Real Thing
The Real Thing , based on number of sales, were the most successful black rock/soul act in England during the 1970s
Hughes Huge Home For Minorities
In 1856 The Strangers' Home for Asiatics, Africans and South Sea Islanders was opened in Commercial Road, Limehouse under the manager Lieutenant-Colonel R. Marsh Hughes.
Sikhs Bloody Sacrifice
In WW1 and WW2 , over 82,000 Sikhs died in both World Wars fighting for Britain and the Empire.
Strong Song by Siffre
Labi Siffre song, 'Something Inside So Strong' won the 1986 Ivor Novello award for best song musically and lyrically. It was sung as an anti-apartheid anthem in apartheid South Africa and is used worldwide by gay groups, women’s groups, disability groups, sexual abuse recovery groups and many other organisations (Amnesty International, for example) as an anthem of self-empowerment.
One Million Reached
The tripling of Britain’s black population from 300,000 to 1 million from 1961 to 1964 led to increased racial and class tensions, especially in London’s Afro-Caribbean community. These tensions led to more police repression and the creation of the British Black Panther Party..
11th Century African Presence in the UK
A skeleton of a female found in England may indicate the existence of a very small number of black people in Britain dating to the 11th century. In 2013, a skeleton was discovered in Fairford, Gloucestershire, which forensic anthropology revealed to be that of a sub-Saharan African woman. Her remains have been dated between the years 896 and 1025. Local historians believe she may have been a bonded servant
Moody - The Activist Doctor
In 1931, Dr Harold Moody founded the League of Coloured Peoples in 1931, the first Black pressure group and the largest British Pan-African organisation in the 1930s and 1940s.
The First Black Pro Footballer
Britain's first professional black footballer emerged from the North East. Arthur Wharton was born in Ghana but moved to Darlington to train as a Methodist preacher. He became the Amateur Athletic Association's 100 yards champion in 1886, bringing him to the attention of Darlington Football Club. He played as goalkeeper, before turning professional at Rotherham Town and later playing for Sheffield United. He was inducted into the Footballer's Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Yorkshire African Connection
In 2007, scientists found the rare paternal haplogroup A1 in a few living British men with Yorkshire surnames. This clade is today almost exclusively found among males in West Africa, where it is also rare.
Amazing Beachy Head Discovery
In 1953, the remains of the Beachy Head Lady were found in East Sussex. The skeleton, which is thought to have originated from Sub-Saharan Africa, has been dated to around 245 AD
Home Away For Asians
Workers mainly from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan arrived in the late 1950's and 1960's. Many worked in the foundries of the English Midlands and a large number worked at Heathrow Airport in west London. This created an environment to where the next generation of families did not lose their identity as easily. An example would be Southall which is populated by many Sikhs.
The Early Employment Restrictions for Migrants
The Navigation Act of 1660 restricted the employment of non-English sailors to a quarter of the crew on returning East India Company ships.Seems the restriction of migrant workers happened 360 years before Brexit.
Arjun's Time in New York
Arjun, the British Asian singer-songwriter, performed at Times Square in New York, USA, in September 2014, before a small gathering of 200,000 people
Salman Slammed For Satanic Verses
The publication of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses in 1988 caused major controversy. Muslims condemned the book for blasphemy. On 2 December 1988 the book was publicly burned at a demonstration in Bolton attended by 7,000 Muslims, followed by a similar demonstration and book-burning in Bradford on 14 January 1989.In 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwā ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie
Alridge The Actress Who Broke The Mould
In the 1890's, Ira Aldridge was one of the highest paid actors in the world at a time when black roles - such as Othello - were played by white men with blackened skin.
Khaliq Wins Historic Title
Jawaid Khaliq became the first British Asian boxing world champion winning the International Boxing Organization(IBO) welterweight title in June 2001
Desai The Greatest Trade Unionist of All Time ?
Jayaben Desai was a prominent leader of the strikers in the epic 2 year Grunwick dispute in London , 1976-1978. The dispute about low pay and "Zoo like " treatment of the mainly East Indian Workers. The strike captured the imagination and support of the wider Trade Union movement that had previously marginalised immigrant workers. This was seen as a turning point in UK Race Relations.
History of Race Riots In Britain
There have been 15 Race Riots in Britain since the arrival of HM Windrush in 1948:
1958 Notting Hill race riots
1975 Chapeltown riot
1980 St. Pauls riot
1981 Chapeltown riots
1981 England riots
1981 Moss Side riot
1981 Toxteth riots
1985 Brixton riot
1985 Broadwater Farm riot
1985 Handsworth riots
1989 Dewsbury riot
2001 Bradford riots
2001 Harehills riot
2001 Oldham riots
2005 Birmingham riots
Cuffay - A Cut Above The Rest
William Cuffay was a Black tailor who lived in London. He was one of the leaders and martyrs of the Chartist movement, the first mass political movement of the British working class.
Love Thy Neighbour.....unless They Are Black ?
Love Thy Neighbour was a British television sitcom, which was broadcast from 13 April, 1972 until 22 January, 1976, spanning seven series and 54 episodes. The series was produced by Thames Television for the ITV network.
It was hugely popular at the time of its broadcast; during an era in which Britain struggled to come to terms with its recently arrived population of black immigrants, Love Thy Neighbour exemplified this struggle. It aroused great controversy for many of the same reasons as the BBC's earlier Till Death Us Do Part had done.
Serjeant Making History
Since 1415 Serjeant at Arms has been responsible for security and keeping order within the parliamentary estate which includes the House of Commmons. The current Serjeant ,Karmal El-Hajji is the first with a black or minority ethnic heritage.
WASU -The Birth of Leaders
The West African Student Union (WASU) was one of the most important political organisations in Britain from the 1920s until the 1960s. Members included Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Joseph Appiah who played an important role agitating for an end to colonial rule in Britain's West African colonies.
Playing By The Books
Allison & Busby,the publishing powerhouse was formed in May 1967 by Margaret Busby and Clive Allison. They published several poetry volumes on a part-time basis before committing themselves full-time to the publishing house from 1969.
So Solid Contribution
So Solid Crew ,a Band that originated from South London are credited as being the group that bought grime and garage to a wider audience from 1998 to the early 2000s.
Chopra The Real First
Did you know that Michael Chopra who made his debut in the Premier League football match vs West Brom on 11 May 2003 was the first British Asian to play in the Premier League ? It was NOT Zesh Rehman formerly of Fulham who did not make his debut until 2004. Sorry Zesh.
Were The First UK Asian's Middle Ages Gypsies ?
If the Romany (Gypsies) are included, then the earliest arrivals were in the Middle Ages. DNA surveys have linked Romanies to present-day South Asian populations and the Romany language is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family.
Different Rates of UK Asian Employment.
The unemployment rate among Indian men is around 7 per cent . For UK its around 13-14%, but for UK Bangladeshis it is one of the highest rates, around 23%
Did you know that The United Kingdom Census 1991 was the first to include a question on ethnicity ?
The Asian Face of Britain
The most significant wave of Asian immigration to and settlement in the United Kingdom came following World War II, the breakup of the British Empire and the independence of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and later Bangladesh, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. An influx of Asian immigrants also took place following the expulsion or flight of Indian communities (then holders of British passports) from the newly independent Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in the early 1970s.
Clyde The Best ?
Although by no means the first Black player to play in Britain, Clyde Best of West Ham and Bermuda who played 186 times (47 goals) for West Ham between 1968-1976, is seen as a pioneer for Black players. He was awarded an MBE for services to Football in 2006
The Big Three
The Civil Rights Campaigns that are most credited as improving the treatment of Black people in Post War Britain are the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott, the 1960's Oxford Street Colour Bar Campaign and the 1969/70 Mangrove Nine Trial.
The Beatles Black Manager
Did you know that the Beatles FIRST Manager was the Black Trinidadian calypsonian and music promoter,Harold Adolphus Philips (15 January 1929 – 5 July 2000), known as Lord Woodbine. He managed them in their teenage years , was regarded by some as the musical mentor of The Beatles, and has been called the "sixth Beatle".
No Small Feat For Millie
"My Boy Lollipop" released in the UK in March 1964 was the first major hit for Millie Small that was recorded in the bluebeat style (she was billed as "The Blue Beat Girl" on the single's label in the US). It reached No.2 in the UK.
Asians Are The One in Ten
Did you know that The Centre for Social Markets estimates that British Asian businesses contribute as much as 10% of total GDP?.
Slavery Not Stopped By Law Change In The UK
In 1807 the British slave trade is abolished in parliament on March 25 by the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. However, many slave traders discover ways to circumvent the new law. And slavery itself remains legal.
The Black & White Cases Of Othello
In 1604, Shakespeare introduced a fully rounded black leading character called " Othello". However it was common practice for many many years after for white Actors to " Black up " to play the role in Theatre or Film productions.
No Jack Because He Was Black
John Francis Leslie (17 August 1901 – 25 November 1988) was an English professional footballer who played as an Inside left. Leslie was the only professional black player in England during his time with Plymouth Argyle. Leslie enjoyed a 14-season spell with Argyle scoring 137 goals.
Leslie was called up to the national team in 1925; his manager, Bob Jack, told him he had been selected to play for England against Ireland. However, the invitation to play for his country was withdrawn. It has been speculated that this was because of belated objections to his colour by members of the FA who had been unaware of his ethnicity.
Leslie was never picked for England again.
Gordon Puts His Life On The Life
Sergeant William Gordon, born in Jamaica was awarded the Victoria Cross when in March 1892 he literally threw himself in front of his Commanding Officer. He served for 10 years before being discharged in 1902.
By Order Of The King
Did you know that iKing Edward VII had an annual honourary body guard of Indian Soliders who were the Kings Orderley Officers? They would accompany him at State Balls and other Court functions in England.
First Black Officer of the British Army.
James Francis Durham was the first African to join the British Army as a fully enlisted solider.Jimmy's application, strongly backed by the sergeants, went all the way to Queen Victoria.
The official decision was favourable, and in July 1899, James Francis Durham was formally enrolled as Boy Solider No. 6758, aged 14 years old. Although the British Army had employed Black drummers and musicians since the 18th century, and colonial regiments were often black, no African had been allowed to join the regular Army on the same terms as white recruits.
"Father of African Nationalism"
Africanus Horton (1835–1883), also known as James Beale, was a Krio African nationalist writer and an esteemed medical surgeon in the British Army from Freetown, Sierra Leone.He is often seen as one of the founders of African nationalism and has been called "the father of modern African political thought". Africanus Horton was a surgeon, scientist, soldier, and a political thinker who worked toward African independence a century before it occurred.
Uddin Makes History
In 1998, Manzila Pola Uddin, Baroness Uddin became a British life peer and the first Muslim and second Asian woman to sit in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The Black Community
Black people were an integral part of 18th-century British society. They worked in a wide variety of occupations, reacted to atrocities, campaigned to end slavery, became political activists, and had a lively social life.
A strong support network existed among the Black population. For example, in June 1772 the Public Advertiser reported that 'a great number of Negroes, in and about the Metropolis', had raised a subscription to thank Lord Mansfield, believing that slaves in Britain had been emancipated by his ruling in the Somerset case. This legal victory was celebrated by a ball held at a Westminster pub, which attracted nearly 200 Black revellers.
The Black Pages
In London's coffee houses, Black children were sometimes sold as presents for upper-class ladies. Boys and girls with very dark complexions were particularly prized as pages; their 'blackness' helped to highlight the owner's pale complexion at a time when 'white' skin was seen as a sign of purity and beauty. These children were, in effect, viewed as pets by their owners.
How happy these pages were is questionable. Newspapers frequently carried advertisements for a 'pet' to be restored to his or her master or mistress.
Enoch Powell Welcomed Immigration to the UK. FACT
Enoch Powell is known best for his notorious "Rivers of Blood" Speech in 1968 about the perils of excessive immigration. In the early 1960s the Conservative Health Minister, who recruited a large number of doctors from the Indian sub-continent was called?....…Enoch Powell.
The First Black Mayor of Britain
Bahamian Dr Allan Glaisyer Minns became the first black mayor in Britain when he was elected Mayor of Thetford, Norfolk, in 1904
Servants and Ayahs
The presence of Black servants in Britain was confirmed in a report published in 1764. Africans and Asians were employed as domestic servants and footmen in a variety of households, some of them famous. Samuel Pepys, the 17th century diarist, employed a 'blackmore' cook, who, he said, 'dresses our meat mighty well'. Joseph Nollekens, Royal Academy sculptor, employed a Black female servant nicknamed 'Bronze'.
Doing Yourself Justice
Nathaniel Wells was a Black Man active in his local community; he was appointed justice of the peace in 1803 and subsequently sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1818. His death at the age of 72 was recorded in the Gentleman's Magazine of 13 May 1852.
Hindoostanee -The 19th Century Indian Coffee House
Dean Mohamed was born in Patna in 1759 to an elite Muslim family. His ancestors had served the Mughal rulers. He joined the British army in 1769 and later accompanied his employer, Captain Baker, to Cork in Ireland. By 1810, he had started a new life in London, establishing the Hindoostanee Coffee House in Portman Square.
The Poor Lascars From London
In 1786, the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor was founded in response to the numbers of destitute Indians walking the streets of London. Lascars, the Indian sailors who worked on East India Company and other ships, were promised their passage home - but the Company did not always fulfil its responsibilities and many of them were set adrift in England.
The Slave Army
Did you know that by the end of the 18th century, the British army had become the biggest single purchaser of African slaves?. Over a 12-year period, an estimated 13,000 Africans were purchased to serve the Crown.
Survival of the Fittest ?
In the 18th Century, Black and Asian men were recruited into the military because the British thought they were better able to survive than White troops, at a time when many more soldiers were killed by disease than in battle. Malaria and yellow fever were common among the troops, and their diet lacked fruit and vegetables, leaving them vulnerable to illness.
Taken By Surprise
In 1787, while collecting evidence in Manchester for the anti-slavery campaign, Thomas Clarkson was astonished to find a 'great crowd of black people standing round the pulpit. There might be forty or fifty of them.'
No Mixed Blessings
'Mixed' marriages were not welcome by all in 18th Century Britain. In 1773, one outraged correspondent wrote to the London Chronicle begging the public to 'save the natural beauty of Britons' from contamination.
Billy The King of The Beggars
Billy Walters was a Black street busker who entertained London's public. He had fought in the American War of Independence but appears to have ended up on the streets of London as one of the Black poor. From workhouse records, it seems that Billy became ill and spent his final days at St Giles's Workhouse where he was elected 'the king of beggars'. A verse from his will reads:
Thus poor Black Billy's made his Will,
His Property was small good lack,
For till the day death did him kill
His house he carried on his back.
The Adelphi now may say alas!
And to his memory raise a stone:
Their gold will be exchanged for brass,
Since poor Black Billy's dead and gone.
Billy could often be seen outside the Adelphi Theatre, in the Strand, in the 1780s. He was identifiable by his wooden leg and military-style outfit, he was famously caricatured by the cartoonist George Cruickshank.
Captain Collingwood The Slave Killer
Captain Luke Collingwood faced with a large number of deaths due to overcrowding, had ordered that all sick Africans be thrown overboard. The aim was to protect himself and the ship's owners - for if sick slaves died a natural death, the owners of the ship received no compensation. If, however, to safeguard the safety of the ship, those deemed chattels were thrown overboard while still alive, the insurers would pay out.
The Boy in Brazil
Jamacian born John Barnes, played mainly for Watford & Liverpool and he won 79 caps for England.His wonder goal against Brazil in the Maracana Stadium in June 1984 is still remembered as one of the best solo goals ever scored by an Englishman.
Cugoano The Slave Who Spoke Out
Ottabah Cugoano publicly demanded the abolition of the slave trade as well as the emancipation of slaves. He was kidnapped and enslaved. Cugoano came to England from Grenada around 1752 and was set free. In Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, published in 1787, he declared that enslaved people had both the moral right and the moral duty to resist their masters.
Shapurji the Hounded MP for Battersea
In 1922, Shapurji Saklatvala was elected MP for Battersea, with a majority of 2,000. Popular among his voters, he was re-elected on a Communist Party ticket in 1924, the only Communist to succeed.A powerful speaker,he was hounded and imprisioned because of his communist sympathies.
Ashwood - First Among Unequals?
Amy Ashwood Garvey was a playwright, lecturer and Pan-Africanist who founded the Nigerian Progress Union in London in 1924. She became an important figure in the anti-racist movement in England. In 1959, she chaired an enquiry into race relations following the racially motivated murder of Kelso Cochrane in London. In the wake of the Notting Hill riots in 1958, she co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Coloured People
The Birth of Curries in Britain
The earliest records of arrivals from the region that is now known as Bangladesh (was British India) are of Sylheti cooks in London during 1873, in the employment of the East India Company, who travelled to the UK as lascars on ships to work in restaurants
50 Years of Hope
The 1968 Race Relations Act (under which it was illegal to refuse housing, employment or public services to someone because of their race or ethnic background) celebrated its 50th Anniversary in October 2018.
To Be Or Not To Be ?
The legendary William Shakespeare is well known for his fantastic Poems, Play’s and Odes but not for his alleged friendship with an African woman.
Lascars Die on Streets of London
In 1842, the Church Missionary Society reported on the dire ″state of the Lascars in London″ it was reported in the winter of 1850, 40 Asian men, also known as 'sons of India', were found dead of cold and hunger on the streets of London
The Black Musicians Who Served
There are many examples of Black men who served in the British army and the Royal Navy as musicians, drummers and trumpeters. Less well known are those who were professional or amateur musicians. Black artists from a variety of social backgrounds were performing in Britain from the 16th century. One such was Julius Soubise, the son of a Jamaican slave and protégé of the Duchess of Queensberry, who was a keen violinist.
Black Power in the UK
In 1967 British Black Panther party was established.British Black Panthers engaged in a struggle with the Metropolitan Police over issues of immigration, blackness, violence, anti-imperialism, and social space.
The Ivory Bangle Lady
One of the richest inhabitants of fourth century Roman York, buried in a stone sarcophagus with luxury imports including jewellery made of elephant ivory, a mirror and a blue glass perfume jar, was a woman of black African ancestry, a re-examination of her skeleton has shown.
In for a Penny In For A Guinea
Not for nothing did a coin - the guinea - derive its etymology from the West African region of that name, the area from which hundreds of thousands of indigenous people were seized against their will. For traders of 17th- and 18th-century Britain, the African was literally a unit of currency.
Captain First of Any
Clive A. Sullivan MBE (1943-1985 ), Great Britain and Wales international winger, was the first black captain of the Great Britain Lions Rugby Side and for any national British sporting side.
Joe Clough The first Black Bus Driver
Did you know that Joe Clough , born in Jamaica in 1887 and orphaned at an early age,became the first Black bus driver of a London motorbus in 1910?
William's Success Is No Laughing Matter
Charles Adolphus Williams MBE (23 December 1927 – 2 September 2006) was an English professional footballer who was one of the first black players in British football after the Second World War, and later became Britain's first well-known black stand-up comedian.
Boateng Makes Political History
Paul Boateng who was the MP for Brent South from 1987 to 2005, became the UK's first black Cabinet Minister in May 2002, when he was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
The UK Slave Who Became A PC
Did you know that John Kent or PC John Kent, the son of a Caribbean slave, became the first Black Police Officer in 1837 ? It was well believed that it was Nordwell Roberts who was the first black police officer in the UK after joining the Metropolitan Police in 1966. Well now you know it was not.
A Cut Above The Rest ?
Did you know that at its peak Channel 4 All Black Cast Comedy "Desmond's" (1989-1994) - attracted over 5.6 million viewers every week ? The series starred Norman Beaton as barber Desmond Ambrose. Desmond's shop was a gathering place for an assortment of local characters.
Thiam Breaks The Glass Ceiling
When Tidjane Thiam became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of British banking group Prudential in 2009, he was the first ever black man to head a top 100 British Company.
Jungle Breaks Through
DJ's Terry T, Goldie and Groovefinder were amongst the first DJ's to create the UK Jungle( Drum n Bass) sound. Its credited as originating from Hackney around 1989 and was a sound that fused Reggae, Soul and Techno beats.
Campbell The First
Naomi Campbell become the first Black Model to feature on the Cover of "French Vogue" in 1988
The Black Nurses Who Saved The NHS
"The Black Nurses Who Saved The NHS " was the title of a BBC Documentary broadcast on BBC4 on 24th November 2016
Paul Stephenson and the Bristol Bus Boycott
The Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 arose from the refusal of the Bristol Omnibus Company to employ black or Asian bus crews in the city of Bristol, England.It was led by youth worker Paul Stephenson and the West Indian Development Council. The boycott of the company’s buses by Bristolians lasted for four months until the company backed down and overturned the colour bar.
Christmas Rapping NOT London Bridge is UK First
On 18 December 1982,the first ever British Hip Hop tune released was by Dizzy Heights (Polydor, 1982), recorded as “Christmas Rapping”. it was NOT "London Bridge” by ‘Newtrament’ (Jibe Records, 1983). Before this British Hip Hop artists were either rapping live to an audience or making recordings of amateur tapes.
Howzat Fact ?
Just as in South Asia, the most popular sport among the British Asian community is cricket; as much as third of the players of the sport at recreational level are of South Asian descent.
Mercury Makes Hidden History
Did you know that the first South Asian musician to gain wide popularity in the UK and worldwide fame was Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, East Africa, to parents of Parsi descent from Bombay (now Mumbai).
Mumzy No Stranger To History
In 2009, R&B and hip-hop artist, Mumzy Stranger, became the first British Bangladeshi to release a music single; titled "One More Dance".
119 Years Not Out
One of the oldest campaign groups in Black led campaign groups in Britain is The Royal African Society of the United Kingdom which was founded in 1901 to promote relations between the United Kingdom and countries in Africa. In addition to producing its journal African Affairs (ISSN 0368-4016, formerly Journal of the African Society), the Society runs programmes in business, politics, the arts and education. It is based in London.
Jeptha The First ?
Andrew Daries Jeptha (born 30 December 1879) was the first black boxer to win a British boxing title, winning the welterweight title in London on 25 March 1907. However, Jeptha is not often recognised as the first black British boxing champion
Williams The First
When Henry Sylvester Williams was elected to Marylebone Council in London in 1906, he became the first Black Councillor ever in London.
Lovers Rock Literally Onto The Stage
Did you know that Black British female Reggae Vocalists that emerged in the mid 1970's was the first emergence of a Black British Reggae Scene ?
Quick Of The Mark
Michael Chopra became the first footballer of Indian descent to play and score in the Premier League. In 2006 he scored one of the fastest goals in Premier League history, as Chopra had only been on the pitch for fifteen seconds after coming on as a substitute
A Cool Breeze
Jean "Binta" Breeze MBE is a Jamaican dub poet and storyteller (has worked also as a theatre director, choreographer, actor and teacher) has performed her work around the world, in the Caribbean, North America, Europe, South-East Asia and Africa, and been called "one of the most important, influential performance poets of recent years".
The Mother Tongue
Patwa is mostly spoken by many Black British people of Caribbean heritage. It can also be found in some outstanding creative art contributions from dub music and poetry.
Singh The Youngest
In 2018 at the age of 30, Onkardeep Singh became the youngest person of South Asian heritage to be awarded an MBE for his interfaith and voluntary works
Mittal Makes Magazine History
In 2005 UK based Indian Lakshmi Mittal was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the third-richest person in the world, making him the first Indian citizen to be ranked in the top ten in the publication's annual list of the world's richest people.
Third Time For Damilola Justice
It took three trials before two young men ( three originally arrested and charged) for the killers of 10 year old Damilola Taylor in November 2000, to be convicted of manslaughter.
Indian Head Count
In 1932, the Indian National Congress survey of 'all Indians outside India' estimated that there were 7,128 Indians in the United Kingdom.It is estimated that from 1800 to 1945, 20,000 South Asians emigrated to Britain
Notting Hill Carnival: Jones or Laslett ?
There is still debate today as to the founder of the UK West Indian Carnival. Was it the event that Claudia Jones called for and helped organise at St Pancras Town Hall in Islington following the 1958 Riots ? Or was it the event that started at Notting Hill in 1966 designed to promote racial harmony in the area ? You decide.
The Story of Inkle and Yarico
For those who were opposed to the British Slave Trade, the Story of Inkle and Yarico represented an epitome of that sentiment in 18th Century Britain and Europe. Inkle and Yarico is a brilliant re-imagining story of sentiment and betrayal reshaped into a compelling narrative about race, culture, gender and ecology.
"Jack Punch" The First
Captain John Perkins, nicknamed Jack Punch, was a British Royal Navy officer. Perkins was perhaps the first mulatto commissioned officer in the Royal Navy. He rose from obscurity to be one of the most successful ship captains of the Georgian navy.
Dido Belle , the Ever Do Well.
Dido Elizabeth Belle was a mixed-race woman, a former slave who became a Gentle Women and was raised as part of an aristocratic family in Georgian Britain at the height of the transatlantic slave trade.
She was raised by Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales who presided over landmark court cases in the history of slavery and the slave trade.in 1772.
Her famous and controversial portrait painting hands in the Scottish National Gallery
The Case of Joseph Knight
Joseph Knight was a man born in Africa and sold as a slave in Jamaica to John Wedderburn of Ballendean, Scotland. Wedderburn had Knight serve in his household, and took him along when he returned to Scotland in 1769. Inspired by Somersett's Case (1772) in England, in which the English courts had held that slavery did not exist under English common law, Knight brought a freedom suit against his master. Knight won his claim after two appeals, in a case that established the principle that Scots law would not uphold the institution of slavery.
Britain's First Black Editor
The Methodist evangelist and journal editor Samuel Jules Celestine Edwards according to his DNB entry , was 'not only Britain’s first black editor but also one of the first in Britain to link the anti-imperialist struggles of all colonized peoples. He was also a proto-Pan-Africanist who helped pave the way for […] the men and women who organized the first Pan-African conference in London in 1900.’
Black Men Freeman Initiation Takes Place
Did you know that Freemasons in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, were welcoming black men over 100 years ago?. A photograph ( see timeline 2 May 2004) shows 10 black men, all members of the Williams & Walker Co, a touring vaudeville act after having been Initiated into Freemasonry in Lodge Waverley, No.597, on 2nd May 1904.
Latham The 18th Century Black Policeman
Looking at the Old Bailey Online proceedings(1740's), the evidence suggests that a Black man was amongst the local parish constables appointed to keep the peace. Thomas Latham was one of them. A Catherine Buck was arrested and charged with stealing candles in 1746. The Court reporter missed the name of the recording officer and simply described the arresting officer as "Negro" .
The Black Solider at Battlefield 1746
An Embroidery of the 1746 Culloden Battlefield shows a Black figure amongst the mounted troops.
Aakash The Record Breaker
Did you know that the 850-seater Aakash restaurant in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire is "the world's largest curry house" ?
Fay The First
On 29 April 1968, Fay Allen becomes the first ever Black Female Officer of the Metropolitan Police at Croydon Police Station in Fell Road. She served from 1968-1972. The Times reported that "She had received several abusive letters".
The Polish African In England
George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (11 October 1778 – 29 February 1860)] was an Afro-European musician, born in Poland. He grew to be a virtuoso violinist, living in England for much of his life. He was born in Biała in Galicia, where his father worked for Hieronim Wincenty Radziwiłł, in 1778. He was baptised Hieronimo Hyppolito de Augusto on 11 October 1778
Melas On The March
Since 1992, "Melas" or gatherings which are celebrations of Asian Culture have been a common feature around the country.
Bader The First ?
Lilian Bader ( 1918-2015) is credited as being probably the first Black woman to join the British Armed Forces.
Double First For The Doctor
Dr John Anthony Roberts QC( who practiced between 1970 and 1998) was first person of African ancestry to be made a QC in England and Wales and the first known person of African ancestry to be the Head of his Chambers in England and Wales
The Anti Apartheid Movement
The Anti Apartheid Movement(AAM) started humbly in 1959 in the UK but by the mid seventies it became one of Britain's biggest ever solidity organisations. Upon the election of Nelson Mandela and his election to the Presidency in April 1994 , AAM dissolved itself in 1995
Busby The Publishing Pioneer
Margaret Busby OBE became Britain’s youngest and first Black woman book publisher, when in 1967 she co-founded Allison & Busby with Clive Allison (1944-2011).
Start of UK Black History Month
The annual celebration which began in 1987 ,was the work of Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, an analyst for the Greater London Council of Ghanaian descent. Addai-Sebo was inspired to start a monthly celebration after a colleague of his at the GLC said that her son, who was named after Marcus Garvey, wondered aloud why he wasn’t born white.
The First Maan As Councillor
Bashir Maan become the first Pakistani in the UK to be elected as a Councillor when he won his seat in Glasgow in 1970.
Ranjitsnhji The First
In 1896, K S Ranjitsinhji made his test match debut at Old Trafford stadium against Australia. Thus becomng the first Indian to play for England
Stormzy's Grime First
Stormzy"Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr" . debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, was released on 24 February 2017 and was the first grime album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart.
Still Not Turning Around
Aswad are a long-lasting British reggae group, noted for adding strong R&B and soul influences to the reggae sound. They have been performing since the mid-1970s, having released a total of 21 albums. "Aswad" means "black" in Arabic.Among Aswad's catalogue of hits include "Don't Turn Around", a UK No. 1 hit in 1988, originally recorded by Tina Turner as a B-side to her "Typical Male" single
Ramming Up The Dance
Ram Gopal was an renowned Indian Dancer who transformed South Asian culture in London when he opened the "Academy of Indian Dance and Music" in 1962.
The Country of A Million Soliders
Did you know that as well as their contribution to Britain in the First World War, India provided over 1 million Soldiers to fight in Belguim, East Africa,France, Italy and the Middle East ?
Garrison - The Black Cultural Archives Founder
Len Garrison founded the Black Cultural Archives in 1981. Now permanently located at Windrush Square, Brixton, it is committed to documenting, teaching and the development of educational resources about the history of the Black Britain
Oliver - A Twist In The Tale ?
Historian Jeffrey Green in his studying of back copies of The Times revealed that in 1834, when Charles Dickens was a journalist in London, aged 22, an interesting item was noticed.
Henry Murphy, ‘a black man’ aged about 60 had appeared at Bow Street court on 13 January 1834 charged with keeping a place for runaway children where they were compelled to ‘rob and beg for their suppers’. His ‘copper-coloured’ son John was also charged. Henry Murphy was surely an inspiration for Fagin in Dickens’s Oliver Twist of 1838: and his son was the Artful Dodger?
West Indian Regiment War Graves In Sussex
There are 19 graves of soldiers of the British West Indies Regiment in the military section of Seaford cemetery near the coast of Sussex where the regiment was stationed in the winter of 1915-1916.
The Prince, The Actor & The Racing Tips
From 1920 horse race fans in Britain became used to the black tipster Ras Prince Monolulu. Claiming to be a Jewish Ethiopian prince, but actually born in the Danish West Indies (St Croix) in 1881, he had travelled widely as an actor and entertainer. Now known to be Peter Carl MacKay, he died in England in 1965.
Black Britain In 1859
Jeffrey Green , the Historian reports that:
"The Morning Post (London) 10 Feb 1859 reported a coloured man named John Pieza withdrew his police court claim that his girlfriend’s brother had stolen his watch. They lived with the defendant’s mother in Walworth, south London. Three men accused of trying to strangle John Davids a coloured man from Ceylon [Sri Lanka] in a Liverpool pub said they put a rope round his neck “for a lark” but were found guilty and fined with costs (alternative: 2 months in prison) according to the Birmingham Daily Post 24 Feb 1859."
William Davidson - The Black Tailor Executed For Treason
In 1820 there was an attempt to assassinate Lord Liverpool and his entire cabinet and replace it with a people’s parliament. Known as "The Cato St conspiracy". What is not widely known is the fact that one of the plotters who was executed for high treason was black – William Davidson, born in Jamaica but lived in Glasgow and London and a tailor by trade.
Colour Bar For Black Artists In London In 1903
The American "In Dahomey" Show opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London in May 1903 and had considerable fame – the 100 plus mainly Black members performed for King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace in June. Still did not stop their cast members from being barred from drinking in many West End Pubs according to Newspaper reports at the time.
Alridge Remembered At The Old Vic
On Friday 24 September 2004, The Ira Alridge Memorial is unveiled at the Old Vic Theatre. Alridge, an Afro-American made his first known acting debut on the London stage in 1825 in the melodrama The Revolt of Surinam at the Royal Coburg Theatre (now the Old Vic). A framed 19th Century print portrait of Ira Aldridge was erected.
The Black & Asian Studies Association Make History
The Black and Asian Studies Association (BASA; till October 1997 ASCACHIB) was formed in 1991. The aim of the Association is to foster research and to disseminate information on the history of Black peoples in Britain. A Newsletter was published three times a year until 2013.
No Black Slaves Made In England
No statutes codifying modern slavery were ever passed in England. The only forced labor recognized in English law was feudal villeinage, which had died out by the seventeenth century. Confusion arose when Englishmen began to bring blacks they had legally bought as slaves in the colonies back to England. The colonial legislatures had laws to define slave status, but English law did not.
-'English Common Law, Slavery and' (Vol. I, pp. 200-203)
Moors Nicked In 17th Century England
In September 1615, a Ratcliffe mariner named Thomas Jeronimo, his wife Helen and a musician named John Anthony all appeared at the Middlesex Quarter Sessions. Helen was suspected of stealing ‘14 bookes of callikoe, 26 pieces of pachers and 108 lb. of suger’ from a merchant named Francis Pinto. Both men were described as ‘Maurus’ - meaning ‘moor’. (LMA MJ/SR/S53, nos. 112, 113; British History Online.)
Baptisms & Burials -18th Century Blacks In Exeter
Exeter (Holy Trinity), burial of Robert Hill, a black servant from the Devon & Exeter Hospital, 8 May 1791
Exeter (St David's), baptism of Anne Hobbs, a black woman, 7 August 1772
Exeter (St David's), baptism of Thomas Walker, a black boy, 4 December 1778
Post War Black Talent Leads In London
7 October 1947 - Evelyn Dove Edric Connor, Mable Lee, Cyril Blake and his Calypso Band, Buddy Bradley, Winifred Atwell, and Adelaide Hall plus others performed in Variety in Sepia, an early example of a UK television special dedicated to Black talent, filmed live at the RadiOlympia Theatre, Alexandra Palace, London, and aired on BBC TV.
Poetry Publication Takes Off in London
Poetry London was a Bi-Monthly publication started by a Tamil from Ceylon called JM Tabinmuttu in1939. It continued until 1951 before being revived in its current format in 1988.
Sade Leaves Others in The Shade
Helen Folasade Adu known as "Sade" is the most successful solo British female artist in history.Sade's US certified sales stand at over 23.5 million units and the band has sold more than 50 million units worldwide.
Into The Lions Den.....If You Are Black
An advetisement in the Era Magazine on 27 May 1898 advertised for a Lion Tamer for a vacancy at Chipperfield’s Menagerie at Chorley, Lancashire: ‘Coloured Man preferred’ was actually stated.
Shakespeare, Othello & Mixed Relationships in England
Abstract: Shakespeare's tragedy of Othello and Desdemona has long attracted critics to consider the issues of interracial relationships and miscegenation in early modern England. More recently, other black characters have been found in Renaissance literature and an African presence in 16th and 17th century England has been demonstrated from archival sources.
The Non Slave Blacks in Britain
The legacy of villeinage coupled with the strong rhetoric of freedom in legal and popular discourse ensured that Africans in Britain were not viewed as slaves in the eyes of the law. Neither were they treated as such. They were paid wages, married, and allowed to testify in court. Those scholars who have sought to place the origins of racial slavery in Elizabethan and early Stuart England must now look elsewhere.
"Africans in Britain, 1500-1640'- Oxford D.Phil. thesis (2011)."
The Birth Of The Golliwog
A black-faced, shock-haired, fat red lipped and goggled-eyed character in brightly coloured clothes introduced to Britain in 1895 with the publication of Bertha and Florence Kate Upton’s The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls. Such was the popularity of the central Golliwog’s character that the Uptons produced twelve sequels until 1909, which were reprinted many times until the late 1970s
-‘ The Oxford Companion to Black British History, eds. D. Dabydeen, J. Gilmore and C. Jones (2007). Golliwog’, pp.191-2.
African in 13th Century England Discovered ?
An African presence in Britain dating around the 13th Century was discovered when a skeleton was examined by the BBC History Cold Case team. The skeleton was found to have come from a medieval Christian cemetery in the grounds of a monastery in Ipswich. Carbon dating, bone analysis and DNA tests revealed the man was born sometime between 1190 and 1300 in North Africa and that he had lived in Britain or an equally cold, damp climate for at least the last ten years of his life. Nine other African skeletons have been found in the Ipswich cemetery and these people seem to have come from sub-Saharan Africa.
African Times Makes History In London in 1912
The ‘Africa Times and Orient Review’ is the first political journal produced by and for Black people ever published in Britain. Duse Mohamed Ali, an Egyptian Nationalist and Pan Africanist Journalist founded The African Times and Orient Review in London in July 1912. It was printed in Fleet Street in London. Marcus Garvey was a staff writer at the newspaper.
Fay Leads The Way
Sislin Fay Allen became Britain's first black WPC, joining the Metropolitan Police in 1968.
John Kent - Police Pioneer
History recognises John Kent as the first Black Police Officer in Britain. But did you know that was in 1837 ?
Constantine The First
Sir Learie Constantine (1901-1971) was one of the best West Indian Cricketers of all time but became England's first black peer because of the work that he did for politics and racial equality.
The Leadership of Amy Garvey
Amy Ashwood Garvey (1897- 1969) was a playwright, lecturer and Pan-Africanist who founded the Nigerian Progress Union in London in 1924. She became an important figure in the anti-racist movement in England. In 1959, she chaired an enquiry into race relations following the racially motivated murder of Kelso Cochrane in London. In the wake of the Notting Hill riots in 1958, she co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.
Henry The First
Henry Sylvester Williams (1869-1911) helped to found the African-Association, which lobbied for human rights in the colonies and was instrumental in holding the first Pan-African Conference in London (1900).
Too Many Blacks In 18th Century London
In 1788, Philip Thicknesse bemoaned the fact that: '... London abounds with an incredible number of these black men [...] in almost every village are to be seen a little race of mulattoes, mischievous as monkeys and infinitely more dangerous'.
Racist Murders Strike Britain
Between 1976 and 1981, 31 Black and Asian people were murdered in racist attacks in Britain including Teenager Gurdip Singh Chaggar,Malcom Chambers,Akhtar Ali Baig and Michael Ferreria
Indian Troops To The Rescue
28,500 Indidan Troops helped shore up the depleted British Troops in Egypt in World War 1 on 26th September 1914. 16,000 British reinforcements arrived at the same time.
The Punjab Tigers of Leicester
The bulk of the Asians in Leicester are Punjabi Sikhs, who came to Britain during the Seventies. Many were former British soldiers or had fathers or grandfathers who joined the British army and fought in the First and Second World Wars. But they didn’t just join the British army - they joined the Leicestershire Regiment, which served in pre-Partition India from 1840 to 1947. So they came to settle in the home of the regiment.
Pero Jones Remembered
Did you know that Peros Bridge in Bristol Pero’s Bridge that was opened in 1999, was named after an African slave who had been purchased in Nevis in the West Indies by the plantation owner John Pinney? He named him Pero Jones. Pinney brought Pero back with him when he moved to England in 1783. Pero lived, worked and died in Bristol.
Double First For Paul
In 1993, Paul Ince became the first black player to captain the England team and in 2008 he also the first black Briton to manage a team in the highest tier of English football when he was appointed as Manager of Blackburn Rovers.
The Original Diva ?
Shirley Bassey is regarded as one of the original divas. With a career that spans more than 50 years, her dramatic voice has provided three Bond films with unforgettable theme songs. She hosted her own highly rated BBC show in the 1970s moving to Switzerland in the early 80s.
The Witch of Kilkenny ?
Did you know that in the trial of Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny in 1423, she was accused of having intercourse with an 'Ethiop' who could also turn into a black cat or black shaggy dog?.
Scottish Black Presence
Something like a black community appears in the account books of the Scottish court at Holyrood shortly after 1500. Reference is made to two women, Ellen or Helenor More and Margery Lindsay, and to a number of men – Peter, Nageir and Taubronar, the last being a married man with a child at Court.
Young Black Skull
A skull confidently identified as that of a young black girl was found in a tenth-century Anglo-Saxon burial at North Elmham in Norfolk
18th Century Black & Asian Presence In London
By the 18th century, there was also a significant Black and Asian presence in the capital. Historians estimate that between 15,000 and 20,000 Black and Asian people were living in London.
The Role Of The Raj
For two centuries, the East India Company and the Indian Raj underpinned Britain's status as a global power and provided it with markets, the profits from which helped to build the Britain we live in today.
Growth On The Back Of Slaves
By the late 18th century, Britain accounted for half the world’s transatlantic slave voyages, with Liverpool accounting for 60% of Britain’s share. During the 18th century, Liverpool’s population had grown from just 5,000 to 78,000. This dramatic growth was achieved on the back of Liverpool’s involvement in the slave trade
The Asian Night Shifts For Britain
Did you know that Asians in the industrial cities of the north were recruited to work the night shift when Britain retooled its textile industry after the Second World War?.
The 500 Years of Black & Asian UK History
The Black and Asian presence in Britain is not a recent one. Black and Asian people have lived, worked and died in Britain for 500 years or more.
Mango Demonstrators Cleared
A Home Office commissioned report from the Community Relations Commission concluded that contrary to the police reports the 1970 Mango Demonstration violence was not initiated by the marchers but by the police.
East Points To BAFTA
The 1999 British Asian Themed Film "East is East" won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the BAFTA Awards, and was declared Best Comedy Film at the British Comedy Awards.
The Indian Shipping Force
Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, 38% of theworkforce on British Ships were Indian. With the outbreak of the War, the recruitment of Indian workers increased significantly.
By Royal Appointment
In the Tudor Times(1485-1603)Henry VII and Henry VIII employed black musicians and servants in their courts.
The Migrant Boom
By 1970 the amount of non-white residents in the UK numbered 1.4 million, although a third of this number were born in Britain.
Rushanara The First
At the 2010 General Election, Rushanara Ali became the first person of Bangladeshi origin to be elected to the House of Commons.
Una The Uno At The BBC
Una Marson was the first Black female broadcaster at the BBC from 1939 to 1946. She was a poet, publisher and activist for racial and sexual equality. She was a secretary to the League of Colored Peoples as well as many other organisations including the Women's International League for Peace.
Harassment Of The Mango
The Mangrove, founded by Frank Crichlow was located in Notting Hill. The restaurant opened in March 1968, quickly becoming a centre for the black community, attracting intellectuals, creatives and campaigners.
The restaurant was repeatedly raided by police. Although the raids were carried out on the basis of drug possession, drugs were never found and Crichlow’s own anti-drugs stance was well known in the community.
England and the Rise of African Leadership
London and Manchester were key locations for the development of Pan-Africanism -a rejection of colonial rule in favour of nationakl independence. From holding major Conferences in 1921 and 1945 to educating future African Leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta.
Michael X The UK Based Revolutionary
Michael X (1933-1975) was a Triandian born but London based black civil rights and revolutionary. He was the first man to be convicted under the 1967 Race Relations Act and led a Black Panther commune in North London. In 1975 he ws hung in Triandad for murdering a fellow activist who had refused to attack a local police station.
Sancho the ex Slave Author and Shop Owner
Ignatius Sancho(1729-1780) was an an 18th Century ex Slave who became a Shop Owner in London , Music Composer and accomplished Author. Indeed after his death, over 1,000 people subscribed to see his letters including the Prime Minister, Lord North
A True Wynters Tale
In 1596 at the request of his Master, Sir Edward Wynter, a Black Servant called Edward Swarthye gave an authorised public beating to a well educated white servant of his Master
Sade - Diamond For Ever ?
The 1984 Debut Album of of Sade Adu (known as Sade ) called Diamond Life STILL remains the most successful debut Album by any Black Female Artist to this day.
Elementary Mr. Watson
In 1881, Andrew Watson became the world's first black association football player to play at international level. He was capped three times for Scotland between 1881 and 1882 and considered one of the top ten most important players of the 19th century.
Words Speak Louder Than Action
The Slave Trade Act of Great Britain was passed in 1807. However, no Slaves were set free because of the the Act
Where Are The Black Professors ?
In January 2017, the Higher Education Statistics Authority revealed there are 50 Black Caribbean or Black African professors out of a total 14,000 in Britain. Did that surprise you?
King Lewis The Undisputed
Lennox Lewis was the most dominant Heavyweight of his era. After Champion Riddick Bowe refused to fight Lewis and vacated the belt on 14th January 1993, Lewis became World Heavyweight Champion.Lewis made six successful defenses of his belts, having regained it twice after shock defeats. Boxing Legends and former World Champions, Evander Holyfield , Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko , were amongst his victims.
Lewis hung up his gloves having beaten every man he ever faced. His career record was 41-2-1 and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009.