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Posts tagged with 'black history'

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. 

Scouse hair-rollers from the past

6 July 2015 by Liz

small ceramic bar

18th century wig curler found during excavations before the construction of the Crown Court in Liverpool

The HAIR exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool explores how Black hair styles have evolved and how they reflect wider social change and political movements. It considers the ways in which hairstyles have reflected status, identity and creativity from early African origins to the present. As an archaeologist this got me thinking about what we might be able to interpret about Black British people’s hairstyles from archaeological evidence.   Read more…

Black Germans and the Holocaust

14 January 2015 by Sam

German wartime identity card with portrait photo of a Black woman

The International Slavery Museum will be marking Holocaust Memorial Day on Tuesday 27 January with a special free guest lecture by Professor Eve Rosenhaft from the University of Liverpool, who will be talking about the experiences of the Black German community during the Holocaust.

Eve tells us more:

“When Hitler came to power in 1933, there were a several thousand people of African descent in Germany. They included African Americans, African-Caribbean and Africans passing through, working or recently settled, but the core of Germany’s Black community was made up of men from Germany’s former colonies – East Africa, Togo, and especially Cameroon – with their German-born wives and ‘mixed-race’ children.

This talk focuses on those families. While Hitler was still hoping to recover colonies in Africa, the Nazis hoped to make use of them for political propaganda. 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…

Can you help us to fill an important gap in our First World War archives?

23 September 2013 by Felicity

We need your help in filling an important gap in our archives. Here’s Karen O’Rourke, Curator of Social History at Museum of Liverpool, to explain:

“Museum of Liverpool has a fabulous exhibition about Liverpool people in the First World War, but when I was putting together the exhibition, I realised that we didn’t have any material about the local Black and Minority Ethnic community. It concerned me that we were effectively missing a chunk of the local population and when I was given the opportunity to suggest potential First World War projects that could feature in Museum of Liverpool, it was my first choice! Read more…

Book sale bargains

3 January 2013 by Karen

A brightly coloured teaset

A divine Clarice Cliff ‘tea for two’ set from Age of Jazz.

As January is synonymous with sales and spring cleaning we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone and have a bit of a clear out in our book warehouse. So if you fancy bagging yourself a bargain then check out the offers on our online shop.

It’s an eclectic selection and there are some great books, my personal favourites being ‘When Time Began to Rant and Rage…’ which is a fab book of Irish figurative work and totally worth a fiver, Age of Jazz: British Arts Deco Ceramics as I’m a sucker for a deco teaset, and British Watercolours and Drawings from the Lady Lever’s collection.

If you’ve still not got a John Moores catalogue then now is the time to buy one as they’re reduced to £7.50. And if you buy it from the Walker shop you get the John Moores China version for free. Read more…

Britain’s Black Community on the home front

19 November 2012 by Sam

Vikky Evans Hubbard from the International Slavery Museum has news of a talk this Thursday:

archive photo of a young Black evacuee holding a suitcase

An evacuee. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

During this month of remembrance, the International Slavery Museum are pleased to welcome author and historian Stephen Bourne, whose work documents the history of Black communities living in Britain.

Stephen’s book, ‘Mother Country – Britain’s Black Community on the Home Front, 1939-45’, unearths a ‘hidden history’ of Britain and the Second World War.

At the International Slavery Museum this Thursday 22 November at 1.30pm, Stephen will give an illustrated talk highlighting some of the forgotten Britons he features in the book, including the community leaders Dr Harold Moody and Learie Constantine, Esther Bruce, singer Adelaide Hall and bandleader Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson. Read more…

Elroy Josephs, a tribute

9 October 2012 by Andrew

Performer Elroy Josephs

Tributes to be paid to the life and work of Liverpool based performer Elroy Josephs (1939-1997).

As part of our Black History Month 2012 programme, the International Slavery Museum presents a tribute to actor and dancer, Elroy Josephs in an evening of movement and memories that celebrates the work and artistic achievements of the Liverpool-based artist.

Elroy, who arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1956 developed a ground breaking fusion of African-Caribbean and European dance styles that changed the way dancers and choreographers thought about movement. Central to this was his understanding of plantation slavery in the Caribbean and its colonial legacy. How he felt this history lived within him and informed his work and gave it the power and emotion he felt was essential for dance to have. Despite Elroy’s influence on British dance heritage, (he was the first Black dance tutor at a British University), his story is largely absent from the history of British Dance. Read more…

UK Black History Month: 25 years old and counting

5 October 2012 by Andrew

National Museums Liverpool's Black History Month 2012 poster

National Museums Liverpool’s Black History Month 2012 poster


Welcome to Black History Month (BHM).  First of all you can find a list of the varied events we have planned by clicking here. Over the past few years BHM has had a number of detractors, mainly by those who point out that every month should be a BHM and that Black history should be embedded in all history taught as part of the curriculum.  I could not agree more, however, I still believe it is a very worthwhile event as it often the first time some people, of all ages, engage with Black history.  This might not be ideal but it is a fact.  We have similar experiences here at the Museum.  For many people we are an introduction not only to transatlantic slavery and contemporary forms of slavery but African achievement, African culture, African civilization and indeed African resistance.  All these subjects should be obligatory aspects of world and British history, but alas, we are not there quite yet, so in the meantime, let’s get behind BHM events nationwide.
Read more…

West African Donors to World Museum

19 April 2012 by Alison Cornmell

Did you know that almost eighty Africans are known to have donated more than 500 objects to World Museum. Their donations helped to create one of the most important historical collections of African cultural artefacts in Britain.

A new display at World Museum shows photographic portraits of some of the West Africans who made donations to the museum between 1897 and 1916.

Most of them were taken by West African photographers. All the donors were friends or contacts of Arnold Ridyard, the steamship engineer who transported their gifts to Liverpool. Read more…

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