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Peter Banasko – one of the true greats

30 October 2017 by Sarah

Peter Banasko. Courtesy of the Banasko family

Today we have a guest blog by Peter Banasko. He is writing about his father, also called Peter Banasko – a Liverpool lad who became a world-class boxer and was asked to fight before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale. He later became an incredibly successful coach and manager. However, Peter also grew up during the era of the Colour Bar and this blog highlights the prejudices he faced. It is a fascinating local and community history and we wanted to run it during Black History Month. With thanks to the Banasko family for submitting it to us:

Peter Emmanuel Banasko 1915-1993

“Peter Banasko was born and grew up in Liverpool. He was the only child of a mixed marriage. His father, Isaac Immanuel Banasko came from the Gold Coast, Ghana. His mother Lillian Banasko, nee Doyle, came from Liverpool.

“He was named in the birthday celebration of 800 people who put Liverpool on the map. (Liverpool Echo 28/08/2007)

“He attended St. Malachy’s School and started his amateur boxing in 1929 at the famous St. Malachy’s boxing gym. By the time he was 14 he had participated in over 100 fights. At the age of 13, having over 40 undefeated contests to his credit, he claimed the distinction of being the first Liverpool boxer to bring home to Liverpool a British Title by becoming the schoolboy champion of Great Britain in 1929 and again in 1930.

“He was invited to box before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale.

Peter Banasko coaching. Courtesy of the Banasko family.

“At 17 he turned professional under the management of the Liverpool Stadium Promoter, Johnny Best Senior.

“Some said he was the best of the best but unfortunately for Banasko he fought during the era of the infamous ‘Colour Bar’ that forbade any non-white fighter from contesting for a national title. Again this vicious prejudice was evidenced in his marriage to Margaret McNerney, a Liverpool girl. A 300 signature petition was actioned to try and stop this marriage; it was unsuccessful.

“He was the first black manager/trainer in Liverpool, indeed in the UK. He was a friend of Douglas Collister (United Africa Co.) and also Jack Farnsworth (British West Africa CO). Because of this by the early 1950s Banasko and Liverpool were a household names in Lagos.

“His reputation as an excellent manager spread to the Gold Coast.

“According to the boxing purists at that time the black boxers fought in a distinct ‘unscientific’ style; they failed to master ‘the noble art’. However, their performances in the ring soon shattered these stereotypes. Banasko was a contributing factor in this change of opinion. When opposing boxers where facing the ‘Banasko camp’ it was not the boxer they feared but Banasko because of his knowledge and expertise.

“Banasko gained the rank of sergeant with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. His request for a commission was turned down. He was advised he would stand a better chance of a commission if he joined the Indian Army!

“This prejudice came up again when Hogan Kid Bassey won the British Empire Featherweight title. He told Banasko in the dressing room after the fight that he wanted a change of manager. Bassey had been convinced that he would not get any further in his career under a black manager. Banasko, disgusted with this prejudice and gutted by Bassey’s disloyalty, parted from the sport he loved.

“Ian Hargraves in his article in the Liverpool Echo (November 30th 1993) ‘Salute to boxing’s unsung hero’ on his death in November 1993 summed it up completely by stating:

Peter Banasko… a rare talent – one of the true greats’ “.

Peter Banasko and the boxers he coached to success. Courtesy of Banasko family.

 

If you enjoyed this blog, you might be interested in our Black History Month events throughout October.

 

Black History Month and family events

6 October 2017 by Sarah

Yazz Vanducci, author of this blog – is an Education Demonstrator at the Museum. Here’s Yazz laying out items for a family session about the Museum and the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade!

This week’s blog is by Yazz Vanducci, Education Demonstrator at the Museum. It highlights our events for Black History Month, as well as updating you on what’s happening for families! –

“What a busy time it’s been for the team at the International Slavery Museum! Firstly, we celebrated Slavery Remembrance Day (our 18th one) on 23 August and now we are in Black History Month.

Before I mention what’s going on for Black History Month, I would like to tell you some the new and exciting projects our team have been working on.

These include new family sessions exploring African myths and legends where we look at the many different stories from all over Africa and then create some of the characters from the stories.

You can also come to our gallery and learn about the Underground Railroad and some of the heroic journeys that people undertook as well as the people themselves like Harriet Tubman and William and Ellen Craft. Read more…

Sin Bin of the City – first screening at Museum of Liverpool

2 October 2017 by Laura

Street riot

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Liverpool 8 Law Centre

On Saturday 14th October Museum of Liverpool will be screening the new short documentary film ‘Sin Bin of the City’. Join us for the first public screening of the film followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and members of the L8 community. Read more…

Black Salt at the Maritime Museum

29 September 2017 by Andrew

Black Salt: Britain’s Black Sailors exhibition opens today. Revealing the historically overlooked experiences of Black seafarers, the exhibition and the book it is based on – Black Salt: Seafarers of African Descent on British Ships – reveal how Black sailors contended with the dangers and hazards of life at sea, and challenged inequality on board and ashore. The book’s author Liverpool historian Dr Ray Costello, blogs about some of the roles those sailors would have had. Read more…

Hot off the Press: Black Panther Newspapers arrive at the International Slavery Museum

31 October 2016 by Sarah

One of the newspaper issues.

One of the Black Panther Intercommunal News Service newspaper issues. Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool

October is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party and Black History Month in the UK. So, what better time to announce our acquisition of twenty one copies of the ‘Black Panther Intercommunal News Service’ than today?  Read more…

Spotlight on: Slavery Remembrance Day

27 October 2016 by Sarah

The Libation ceremony

The Libation ceremony

In today’s blog we are taking a special look at Slavery Remembrance Day, which falls on 23 August.

The date is chosen by UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – to commemorate a significant uprising of enslaved African men and women on the island of Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti) in 1791. This was instrumental to the downfall of the transatlantic slave trade. Read more…

Jon Daniel’s supa family reunions

25 October 2016 by Sarah

Barbados family reunion, on board the Jolly Roger. Courtesy of Jon Daniel.

Barbados family reunion, on board the Jolly Roger. That’s Jon, on the right! Courtesy of Jon Daniel.

Jon Daniel, whose collection features in our Afro Supa Hero exhibition, blogs about his earliest memories of family reunions and Bajan heritage for Black History Month, and ahead of the 50th anniversary of independence for Barbados on 30 November. He introduces a very special author too – his Aunty Jean. Jon says: Read more…

Photos from Slavery Remembrance Day 2016

21 October 2016 by Sarah

Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum and Akala on the steps of the Dr Martin Luther King, Jr building.

Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum and Akala on the steps of the Dr Martin Luther King, Jr building. Courtesy of Dave Jones Photography

Almost 9,000 of you visited the International Slavery Museum, part of National Museums Liverpool, in the week of Slavery Remembrance Day this year. Read more…

“Unbought and unbossed” – Shirley Chisholm for President.

12 October 2016 by Sarah

Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas-ed. Sam Durant. Rizzoli, 2007.

Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. Ed. Sam Durant. Rizzoli, 2007.

Today’s blog by Dyana Saad is about Shirley Chisholm, the first African American and first woman to run for presidency. She was endorsed by the Black Panther Party. But not many people know of her. During October, which is both Black History Month and marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, we share her history. Read more…

Black Tommies: British Soldiers of African Descent in the First World War

3 October 2016 by Sarah

black-tommies-blog-size-imageOn Friday 7th October at 2pm, Dr Ray Costello will be giving a talk at the Anthony Walker Education Centre at the International Slavery Museum, focusing on his recently published book, ‘Black Tommies: British Soldiers of African Descent in the First World War’. Ray tells us more ahead of the free talk, part of our Black History Month event series, which we hope you can join:

“This is the first book dedicated to the part played by Black soldiers in the British regular army, rather than colonial units, during the First World War.

“This forgotten group of participants in the First World War are those Black Britons, already resident in the British Isles at the outbreak of hostilities, who enlisted to fight for King and Country. Not least were the locally born Black communities in Britain’s docklands districts, of several generations’ standing in some cases, also answering the nation’s need.

“Members of the Liverpool Black community, the oldest in Europe in terms of continuous presence, are able to trace their roots from the eighteenth century and have fought in all of Britain’s wars throughout the last two centuries. In this talk, the names of some of those who served will be recognised today in the modern Liverpool Black Community.

untold-stories-unknown-soldier-crop

“If Black British colonial troops have been long ignored by historians, the existence of any narrative around Black British soldiers enlisting in the United Kingdom is equally unknown, even in military circles. Although Black colonial overseas troops fighting for Britain are only now slipping into books and media, ‘under the radar’, so to speak, ‘home-grown’ and UK-domiciled Black soldiers are still largely unrecognised and deserve to be  more widely popularised”.

View all of our FREE Black History Month events throughout October

 

 



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.