Day 1: Okay, I'm doing this. It's a #BlackHistoryMonth thread. It's sad that we know more about Black American history, than we do about Black British struggles and successes. This thread hopes to be part of the focus on our erased and uncelebrated history. Image
Day 2: History
Black British history didn’t start in the 20th century. Erasing Black ppl from period dramas because 'it's not historically accurate' is just ignorant. The first known Black Briton is the skeleton of a woman with sub-Saharan ancestry, who lived around 200 AD. Image
Day 3: Were all early Black Britons slaves? No. There is evidence of powerful & wealthy African Romans. York excavations found remains of 'Ivory Bangle Lady', a high-ranking Roman woman of North African ancestry, suggesting a multi-cultural Roman Britain #BHM #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 4:
Catalina was a figure in Tudor England, arriving with Catherine of Aragorn as her bed chamber attendant. When she arrived in Britain she was a slave, but she later married a Moorish bow maker, suggesting she was freed from slavery. #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM #BHM2020 Image
Day 5: Mary Fillis, a Black Moroccan, was a servant for a merchant & later a seamstress. Mary's baptised in 1597. After her mistress dies, Mary could make a living independently as a seamstress. Black women in Tudor England could advance. #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 6: John Blanke, royal trumpeter in the court of Henry VII/Henry VIII 1506-12. A valued member of the court, he played at the funeral & coronation of the kings he served under. He successfully petitioned the king for a wage increase, indicating his status. #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 7: Sons of Africa was a political group formed by freed slaves in late 1700s London. The role slaves played in their own liberation is underplayed. Members included Olaudah Equiano & Ottobah Cugoano. They also educated poor Black ppl in London & campaigned against colonialism Image
Day 8: Olaudah Equiano is considered the originator of the slavery narrative, writing the first widely read first-hand account of slavery 'The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African’. #BlackHistoryMonthUK #BHM Image
Day 8 cont... Equiano bought his freedom for £40 in 1776 & was Britain's first Black political leader. A leader of the Sons of Africa, he campaigned against slavery, leading delegations in parliament. He wrote a bestseller & was a key intellectual figure #BlackHistoryMonthUK #BHM Image
Day 9: Ottobah Cugoano was the first African to demand total abolition of slavery. Kidnapped in Ghana & enslaved in Grenada. He was taken to England by a merchant & freed. He joined Sons of Africa & became the first Black activist against slavery.1/2 #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 9 cont... Cugoano successfully appealed to Granville Sharp, saving Henry Demane kidnap into slavery in the Caribbean. In 1787 Cugoano published 'Thoughts & Sentiments on the Evil & Wicked Traffic of the Human Species' - arguing that slavery is morally wrong #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 10: Ignatius Sancho, born 1726, was a former slave and the first person of African heritage to vote in a British general election. He was also a composer and the first African to publish music in the European tradition. But he’s still not done... 1/2
#BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 10 cont...Sancho was also a shopkeeper & the first published Black British author. He was a celebrated letter writer & abolitionist, hosting artists, politicians & writers in his shop. His letters were published posthumously in 1780. #BlackHistoryMonth
Day 11: Mary Prince was a slave who gained freedom, when she was taken from Antigua to England. She was the author of ‘The History of Mary Prince’ (1831), the first published book in Britain centring the life of a Black woman & a key anti-slavery text. #BlackHistoryMonthUK Image
Day 11 cont...Prince was also the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to parliament. She petitioned for her from slavery, so she could return to her husband in Antigua, but that never happened. Bermuda celebrates 1 May as Mary Prince Day #BlackHistoryMonthUK #BHM Image
Day 12: Pablo Fanque, born William Darby in a Norwich workhouse, was Britain's first Black circus owner. A talented tightrope walker & equestrian, Pablo had a knack for self-promotion. He was known for spectacular shows & was successful for many years #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 13: Fanny Eaton, Jamaican-born domestic worker/ artist's model, immortalised in Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Artist, Gabriel Dante Rossetti wrote to another artist about Eaton's great beauty, significant given rigid Victorian beauty standards #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM ImageImageImage
Day 14: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875- 1912) was a classical conductor/composer dubbed the ‘African Mahler’ by his white peers. His success resulted in US tours & an invitation to the White House from President Roosevelt . Sadly he wasn't well paid. #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 14 cont... SCT was a supporter of the Pan-African movement & fought prejudice all his life. African music influenced some of his classical compositions, such as African Suite, African Romances & Twenty Four Negro Melodies #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM

Dusé Mohamed Ali (1866) - actor, editor, journalist, playwright, historian, activist & Pan-African campaigner. Frustrated with being typecast as an actor, Ali launched the African Times & Review in 1912, the first Black-owned paper in England #BlackHistoryMonth #bhm Image
Day 15 cont...Ali sat among key Black intellectuals, incl Booker T Washington, W.E.B. DuBois & Marcus Garvey, joining the United Negro Improvement Association in the US. Ali settled in Nigeria, where he set up another leading newspaper, until he died in 1945 #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 16: A familiar tale...Bermudian Charles Wotten, was killed by a white mob in Liverpool, after police raided a hostel known to house many Black ppl. 1919 faced a summer of 'race riots' in Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff & other ports... #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 16 cont…After WWI the jobs shortage led to racial tensions. White workers pressured industries to create a ‘colour bar’ refusing work for Black ppl. Mobs set light to houses to drive out Black residents like Wootton, who is commemorated with a plaque #BlackHistoryMonthUK Image
Day 17: Where are the Black women in British history? It hasn't escaped me that most of my tweets so far are about Black men. The stories of Black women seem lost until we reach a certain point in history. Trust me I've looked for more women to include 1/2
#BlackHistoryMonth #bhm ImageImageImage
Day 17 cont... Prior to 1900 Black women are hard to find, partly due to their status as women, but also European names inherited from slavery make them indistinguishable unless colour is mentioned. But this week's posts are dedicated to Black Brit women #BlackHistoryMonth #bhm Image
Day 18: Mary Seacole was born in Jamaica & moved to England in 1854. When the War Office refused to send her to the Crimea as an army nurse, she raised the funds & went anyway. She established the British Hotel close to the frontline to nurse soldiers #BHM #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 18 cont...she was stationed much closer to the battle than Florence Nightingale. Soldiers called her 'Mother Seacole' due to her kindness & they wrote letters to newspapers celebrating her. History forgot Mary, but Caribbean nurses kept her name alive #BlackHistoryMonth #bhm ImageImage
Day 19: Una Marson (1905) Jamaican born, living in London & the first Black woman broadcaster at the BBC. She also co-wrote & directed the first Black play staged in London’s West End. 1/2 #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 19 cont... A poet, playwright, anti-colonialist, anti-racist & feminist Una stressed the role of Black women in the fight for liberation. She was on BBC radio show 'Calling the West Indies' & founded the vital literary show Caribbean Voices. #BlackHistoryMonthUK #BHM Image
Day 20: Adelaide Hall, jazz singer & entertainer, born in the US, but UK-based. She was a Cotton Club performer spotted by the legendary Duke Ellington, but made her home in England & performed for British troops in WWII. 1/2 #BlackHistoryMonth #bhm Image
Day 20 cont... Adelaide was the first Black star to gain a long term BBC contract & in 1941 she was the highest paid entertainer in Britain. She last performed in 1992, in her 90s, ending a career that spanned many decades. #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 21: Stay positive folks! Celebrate Claudia Jones (1915-1964), editor of the West Indian Gazette, campaigning for equality, in an age when many businesses & employers in Britain operated an unofficial colour ban & signs saying 'No Blacks' weren't uncommon. #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 21 cont... racial tensions in London reached boiling point. Claudia Jones created an event to celebrate Caribbean culture & heritage, a precursor to the Notting Hill Carnival - now part of the fabric of London #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 22: Margaret Busby, a woman too inspiring for 2 posts on this thread. Britain's first Black female publisher, but also the youngest publisher ever, at the time. Born in Ghana, based in the UK, she formed Allison and Busby in 1967...#BlackHistoryMonthUK #BHM Image
Day 22 cont...she picked up the Black power thriller The Spook Who Sat by the Door, which became required reading at the FBI Academy. Her two Daughters of Africa anthologies collect writing from women of African descent & sales fund a bursary for an African female student #BHM Image
Day 23: Olive Morris: a political activist & champion of Black rights in London & Manchester, campaigning for squatter's rights in the 1970s. A founding member of the Organisation of Women of African & Asian Descent (OWAAD) & the Brixton Black Women's Group #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 23: Olive was a key member of the British Black Panther Movement in 1968. She was a radical black feminist, committed to the struggle against racial, sexual and class oppression. And did all this before her death at just 27, but her legacy lives on #BlackHistoryMonthUK #BHM Image
Day 24: Tessa Sanderson Jamaican-born - the first British Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal (1984) & six-time Olympian in javelin. She made her Olympic debut in 1976 & went on to break several world records over a 20-year career #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 25: The Bronze Woman is the first public statue of a Black woman in England & was unveiled in 2008 in the London town of Stockwell. It took over 10 years of planning 7 fundraising, started by Guyanese poet Cecile Nobrega to celebrate Caribbean women #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 26: The British Black Panthers were founded in 1968 by Nigerian playwright, Obi Egbuna. It was the first Panther organisation outside the US. The BPP organised local Black communities to fight racial discrimination & stressed working class solidarity #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 27: The Mangrove Nine Trial was a landmark moment in the British Black power movement. The Mangrove was a restaurant & hub for the Black community & leaders. Police raids were regular & the Black Panthers organised a protest against the harassment #BlackHistoryMonthUK #BHM Image
Day 27 cont... 9 Black leaders were arrested - Darcus Howe & Althea Jones-Lecointe represented themselves at trial, demanding an all-Black jury. All 9 were acquitted. This was the first time a judge admitted 'racial hatred' in the Met Police #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM
Day 28: The Bristol Bus Boycott sparked as a result of the state-owned council-run, Bristol Omnibus company operating a colour bar on Black workers. No POC conductor/driver had ever been employed, despite Bristol's Caribbean community standing at 3,000 in 1960 #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 28 cont...In 1963, Paul Stephenson organised a bus boycott, inspired by Rosa Parks. The boycott was supported by local residents & students & local MP Tony Benn, who influenced Howard Wilson who later passed the Race Relations Act as Prime Minister #BlackHistoryMonth #bhm Image
Day 29: Dr Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Trinidad), leader of the British Black Panthers (BBP) & fought against attempts to suppress & discredit Britain's Black power & liberation movement. She organised The Mangrove restaurant protest against police harassment #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Image
Day 29 cont...She was one of the Mangrove 9 & represented herself in court. She was also key in ensuring Black women's rights were at the heart of the British Black power movement. She is an often forgotten figure in the British civil rights movement #BHM #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 30: The British government borrowed £20 million to compensate slave owners for the abolition of slavery in 1835. British taxpayers finished paying off that debt in 2015. So the descendants of slaves, including me, helped pay slave owners for our freedom. #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Day 30 cont...Former PM David Cameron is from a slave-owning family that benefitted from this compensation. The British government advised Caribbean islands to become tax havens, so Britain could still profit, but they're unable to gather taxes to benefit their own citizens #bhm Image
Day 31: Did your family benefit from slavery? The Legacies of British Slave-ownership project identifies the British individuals & companies that were connected to slavery & profited from it. You can search your family name & location #BlackHistoryMonth
Day 31 are some of the resources I found while doing this thread an incredible resource of quotes and biographies lots of information on pan-African history… Tax Justice has lots of interesting articles on the economics of oppression and colonialism
Go straight to the source for #blackhistorymonthuk
Follow these accounts for the latest resources on Black Britain and more @100blackbritons @ShadesofNoir @BhmUK @BlackPastOnline @britsandpcs @bcaheritage the Black Cultural Archives Brixton.
Enjoy. #BlackHistoryMonth

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