Our venues


Posts tagged with 'black history month'

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.


“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



You don’t need anybody’s permission to be a great mathematician

30 September 2016 by Sarah


To open Black History Month, Dr Nira Chamberlain shares his presentation on the Black Heroes of Mathematics.

In this blog, he also shares his inspiring journey to become one of the UK’s top practising scientists today, despite a lack of visible Black role models and his careers teacher advising him to pursue boxing.

Read more…

Forgotten? : Black Soldiers in the Battle of Waterloo

21 October 2015 by Sarah

The Recruitment Officer c1815, showing a Black trumpeter rallying locals. It is exceptionally rare to find an image depicting a Black soldier at the Battle of Waterloo. Image reproduced by permission of Leslie Braine-Ikomi

The Recruitment Officer c1815, showing a Black trumpeter rallying locals. It is exceptionally rare to find an image depicting a Black soldier at the Battle of Waterloo. Image reproduced by permission of Leslie Braine-Ikomi

As we are now remembering and commemorating the Centenary of the First World War, Black British colonial troops are only now receiving attention by historians. 2015 is also the bicentenary of another great conflict, the Battle of Waterloo, and on 24th October at 1pm Dr Ray Costello will focus on another group of soldiers of African descent, Black soldiers who fought at the Battle of Waterloo a century earlier than the Great War. Here, Ray writes a blog for us ahead of his talk at the International Slavery Museum:

“If Black British colonial troops have been long neglected by historians, the existence of any narrative around Black British soldiers enlisting in the United Kingdom in the Napoleonic Wars is even less known. Black soldiers based in the United Kingdom would seem to have been a component of the British army for a very long time and there is some evidence to suggest that the British Army actively sought black soldiers during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

“Individual Black soldiers are known to have taken part in many of the Napoleonic war campaigns, including the Battle of Toulouse, the Peninsular War, Quatre Bra, and the final battle to defeat the French Emperor Napoleon at Waterloo in June 1815.

“Who were these Black soldiers and where were they from? Whilst the majority of Black soldiers found can be identified as coming from the West Indies, reflecting the slave trade, others came in roughly equal measure from Africa, continental North America, (i.e. the United States and Canada), the East Indies and Britain and Ireland. The 88th Foot had a number of Black soldiers serving with it in the Peninsular Campaign, and even after the Napoleonic Wars continued to recruit Black soldiers. One or two were even British-born, as Black people were being born in such ports at Liverpool at that time.

“Both before and after the Battle of Waterloo, amongst other regiments, black individuals were to be found in the 13th light dragoons, the 10th Hussars and the 88th Foot. After the Napoleonic Wars, we also look at what happened to those who had taken part. Did some receive medals? Who looked after them in their declining years and did they receive pensions?

“Although the numbers of Black soldiers may have been relatively small compared with the thousands who fought and died in this epic battle, the aim is to give these soldiers of African descent a deserved face and draw attention to the interest and importance of a previously under-researched history. I am inviting you to come along to the International Slavery Museum to listen to these forgotten accounts, and to perhaps rethink your perceptions of this phase of military history.”

Hear more from Dr Ray Costello this weekend, at his Black Soldiers at Waterloo talk at the International Slavery Museum – Saturday 24 October at 1pm. Part of our Black History Month 2015 event series. 

Did you know Black boxers were banned from becoming British Champions until the 1940’s?

7 October 2015 by Sarah

Kid Tanner photoLiverpool journalist and author, Gary Shaw, writes for us ahead of his free talk at the International Slavery Museum on 10 October for Black History Month, on the rise and role of the colour bar in British boxing:

“Not a well-known aspect of sports history by academic, let alone popular historians, the rise and role of the colour bar in British boxing is a sorry tale of establishment resentment, colonial self-glorification and bureaucratic stubbornness that prevented a host of domestic fighters from competing for their own national titles as a professional due simply and sadly to the colour of their skin.

“Introduced almost in a fit of transatlantic pique by the semi-aristocratic owners and members of the National Sporting Club that ran British boxing at the time, the ban, informal at first but effective nevertheless, ran from 1911 until 1947, when pressure from papers, public and even Parliament forced the British Boxing Board of Control to repeal a clause they had embraced unquestionably on their formation as the governing body of the sport in 1929.

“For almost four decades, Britain was aligned with South Africa as the only countries in the world that prohibited black fighters from becoming national champions in their own country. The ban continued throughout the First and Second World Wars – the self-evident and tragic contradiction of the latter being one of the main reasons why calls for it to be repealed became so vociferous from 1944 onwards.

“My presentation touches on all these aspects, showing how wider social, economic and political arguments were used to highlight both the reasoning behind the ban’s introduction, and the rationale for its eventual abolition. In so doing, I will showcase a number of key individuals who, up until now, have rarely been referred to by historians of Black culture in Britain as well as the wider, and ever expanding, sports historian network”.

Find out more about Black History Month and our programme of free events throughout October.

Welcome to Black History Month

1 October 2015 by Alison

legacy-gallery-visitor_3As we move into the month of October, Black History month in the UK, Mitty from the Education team tells us all about the events and fun, family friendly activities that are taking place at the museum. Read more…

Black Heroes comic book workshop

21 October 2014 by Mitty

comic book illustrations of heroes of Black history

This guest post is from Leah Moore, who will be encouraging International Slavery Museum visitors to get creative this half term in a special comics workshop on Wednesday 29 October:

“When the International Slavery Museum asked us to do a comics workshop on Black heroes, and get people making their own comics, we jumped at the chance. People associate comics with superheroes, but the medium is used just as often to tell real stories about real people. From biographies of heroic historical figures like Senator John Lewis’ ‘March’, to Joe Sacco’s journalistic accounts in ‘Palestine’, to touching stories of heroes from everyday life like Meet The Somalis , comics are the perfect way to tell any story. Read more…

Legacies of Slavery: A Writer’s Reflection on Blackness and Queerness

16 October 2014 by Andrew

Professor Thomas Glave

How does a group of people come to terms with the legacy of centuries of enslavement? What is the effect of this legacy on the creation of an identity, and how does this group treat its gay and lesbian members?

Professor Thomas Glave (SUNY-Binghampton) has gained international praise for both his historical and literary work on race and sexuality studies, with a focus on the gay experience in Jamaica. Read more…

Penny Lane and the legacies of slavery

7 October 2014 by Sam

Penny Lane street sign in Liverpool

Kayleigh, a third year history student at Liverpool University who has a keen interest in slavery studies and African history, has written this guest blog post for Black History Month.

There is currently a series of free seminars at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool, including several for Black History Month. You can also get involved in a number of free Black History Month talks and events at the International Slavery Museum and Museum of Liverpool throughout October.

“Though the mentioning of Penny Lane usually brings up thoughts of The Beatles, the famous street in suburban Liverpool has a lesser known history. It is believed to have been named after James Penny, an eighteenth century slave ship owner, merchant, and prominent anti-abolitionist. Read more…

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.




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.