21 October 2015 by Sarah
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.
15 October 2015 by Richard
In this guest blog, produced for Tate Liverpool, I talk of my recent visit to the gallery’s major exhibition curated by one of America’s most distinguished contemporary artists, Glenn Ligon (b.1960, New York) – Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions.
My first guest blog for Tate Liverpool also happens to be during UK Black History Month (rather than US Black History Month which is in February). Dr. Carter G. Woodson, often referred to as the father of African American history, established what was originally called ‘Negro History Week’ in 1926. The week became a month, February chosen as it contains the birthdays of influential figures such as Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. It was against this backdrop that I visited Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions at Tate Liverpool. Read more…
15 October 2015 by Alison
Kumar Swamy is South India Director for the Dalit Freedom Network and is responsible for oversight of a range of on the ground education, healthcare and economic programmes run for the benefit of Dalit communities in India. These trafficking prevention projects are helping to bring about real change – not only freeing Dalits from modern forms of slavery, but freeing them from the factors that make them so vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in the first place. Here Kumar tells us of the challenges he faced growing up as a young Dalit boy in India, and of the work going on to bring about meaningful and long-lasting change in the country he loves. Read more…
7 October 2015 by Sarah
Liverpool 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”.
17 September 2015 by Alison
Are the garments you’re wearing today free from human trafficking, or is a heartbreaking story woven through their fabric?
Carolyn Kitto, Co-Director STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia Coalition, highlights the challenges facing fashion consumers, retailers and manufacturers:
“About 16 young women had been waiting for us to arrive in a small and stiflingly hot room. They were in their late teens and early 20s. They were all eager to tell their stories of being in the Sumangali Scheme. This Scheme is a form of bonded labour and human trafficking which targets the poorest families of India. Read more…
4 September 2015 by Mitty
As the holidays have now finished and we settle back into delivering our school sessions we are celebrating our Heritage status and we have some events and activities throughout the month. We have a fantastic group of speakers for our event on the 19 September, Heritage in Focus. Read more…
21 August 2015 by Sarah
British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster and film-maker, David Olusoga is delivering the keynote lecture this evening at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, as part of a weekend of free events to commemorate Slavery Remembrance Day on Sunday 23 August. Read more…
20 August 2015 by Richard
Ahead of Slavery Remembrance Day on Sunday 23 August, Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum, explains the background to the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture, and writes on the importance of this annual commemoration: Read more…
Our Internal Communications Officer, Emma Duffy, on why she’s happy to be celebrating International Left Handers Day.
I love being left-handed (one of the 10% of the world’s population that is), not only that but I’m proud to be left-handed. In years gone by, being left-handed was frowned upon. Children were forcibly made to write with their right-hand. Left-handedness was associated with all things evil, and southpaws were considered to be ‘children of the Devil’. Even the word ‘left’ has negative connotations, coming from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘lyft’ meaning weak or broken. The Latin word for left is ‘sinister’ which doesn’t exactly conjure up positive images either! But today – International Left Handers Day – all those dated concepts can be swept aside and the contribution of awesome left-handers can be celebrated, and awareness raised of the everyday troubles faced by lefties the world over. Read more…