Picture section

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1. Among the grave goods of the ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ were two bangles, one made of English jet and another of African ivory. She was of mixed African heritage and lived in Roman York in the second half of the fourth century AD.

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2. A forensic craniofacial reconstruction of the ‘Beachy Head Woman’, a third-century Afro-Roman who grew up and died in East Sussex.

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3. The Hereford Mappa Mundi of 1280 shows the three known continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.

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4. Detail showing the outer fringes of Africa on the Hereford Mappa Mundi. Here, in the medieval imagination, dwelt monstrous races such as the Blemmyes, a people whose faces were in their chests.

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5. John Blanke (centre). The royal trumpeter is depicted on the Westminster Tournament Scroll, 1511.

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6. A bronze plaque that once decorated the palace of the Obas of Benin, modern-day Nigeria. The first British visitors to Benin arrived in the middle of the sixteenth century. The palace was sacked by British forces in the 1890s.

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7. Freedom was not merely given to the enslaved of the British West Indies, it was fought for. This sketch is of a flag taken from slaves who rebelled in Barbados.

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8. Black enslaved child servants were very much in vogue for the European aristocratic classes in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Elizabeth Murray, Lady Tollemache, later Countess of Dysart and Duchess of Lauderdale, is shown in a 1651 portrait. Her servant wears a silk shirt and a pearl earring, and stares attentively at the Countess.

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9. This 1682 portrait of Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth and mistress to King Charles II, shows the Duchess with an enslaved child servant.

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10. Portraits of aristocratic men tended to celebrate manly pursuits. Here the third Duke of Richmond is depicted out on a shoot with a black boy in fine livery, c. 1765.

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11. ‘Be not amaz’d Dear Mother – It is indeed your Daughter Anne’, reads the caption from this 1774 satirical engraving. The subject is a ‘Town Miss’, one of the infamous courtesans of Georgian London, for whom an enslaved black pageboy dressed in livery and turban (far left) was an essential fashion accessory.

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12. This portrait, believed to be by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was for many years thought to be a likeness of Francis Barber, Dr Johnson’s servant and surrogate son.

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13. Born into American slavery, Bill Richmond escaped the American Revolutionary War and became a cabinetmaker in England. Although of small stature and already in his early forties, he made the rather radical decision to enter into the world of Georgian bare-knuckle boxing, where he became known as the ‘Black Terror’, winning seventeen of his nineteen professional fights and becoming Britain’s first black sports star.

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14. The black trumpeter entertaining the crowds in the foreground of William Hogarth’s Southwark Fair of 1733 is one of a number of black figures who appear in the artist’s depictions of Georgian street life.

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15. A satirical cartoon from the late eighteenth century shows Julius Soubise, the former slave turned Georgian rake, fencing with his patron Catherine Hyde, the Duchess of Queensbury.

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16. An 1807 watercolour of the slave fortress on Bunce Island in the Sierra Leone River, from which tens of thousands of Africans were shipped to slavery in the Americas. The ruins of the fortress have been described as the Pompeii of the Atlantic slave trade.

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17. The implements of plantation slavery. This mid-eighteenth century engraving shows a punishment collar, an iron mask and leg shackles. These grim contraptions were often used to punish slaves who had escaped.

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18. A model of the slave ship Brooks that was commissioned by abolitionist Thomas Clarkson to demonstrate how the captives were ‘crammed together like herrings in a barrel’. This model was given to William Wilberforce, who used it in parliament to demonstrate the horrors of the middle passage to his fellow MPs.

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19. This famous poster of the Brooks was distributed across the world as part of the abolitionist campaign. The diagram shows 451 Africans packed into the slave decks yet in 1783 the ship had sailed with 609 slaves on board.

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20. Ignatius Sancho. Born on a slave ship he later, with the help of the Duke and Duchess of Montagu, set out to educate himself, eventually befriending a number of eminent Georgians and settling down as a shopkeeper.

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21. Saartjie Baartman, a woman of the Khoikhoi people of southern Africa, suffered a great many torments and was put on public display in Britain and France in the early nineteenth century. She was described as the Hottentot Venus.

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22. Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa, was one of the most remarkable of the black Georgians. He published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, in 1789.

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23. Granville Sharp, who, after meeting the enslaved boy Jonathan Strong on the streets of London in 1765, dedicated fifty years of his life to campaigning against slavery.

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24. ‘Am I not a man and a brother?’ The great campaigning slogan and iconic image of the abolitionist movement appears above John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1837 anti-slavery poem, ‘Our Countrymen in Chains!’.

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25. William Wilberforce, abolitionist and MP, aged twenty-nine.

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26. William Knibb, the missionary and abolitionist who watched the ‘monster’ of slavery die in Jamaica in 1838.

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27. Thomas Clarkson, the moral leader of British abolitionism, calls for the country to lead a global moral crusade against slavery in Benjamin Robert Haydon’s painting of the World Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840.

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28. A young Frederick Douglass, the great African American abolitionist. This photograph was taken in 1848, not long after Douglas’s first lecture tour of Britain.

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29. Henry ‘Box’ Brown escaped from slavery in 1849 by mailing himself in a wooden box from Virginia to the free state of Pennsylvania. He later re-enacted his escape on the anti-slavery circuit in Britain.

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30. ‘Ethiopian Serenaders’ on King Street, Greenwich, London in 1884. ‘Blackface minstrelsy’ first came to Britain in the 1830s and remained part of British stage culture up to the 1980s.

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31. The Illustrated London News reports the capture of a slave ship by HMS Pluto (right) in April 1860. This 365-ton, heavily-armed paddle steamer patrolled the coast of Africa intercepting slave ships as part of the British West Africa Squadron.

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32. King Ghezo of Dahomey. Alongside his business partner, the infamous Brazilian slave-trader Francisco Félix de Sousa, Ghezo ensured that Dahomey became one of the most prolific slave-trading states in West Africa.

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33. A famous and horrific image of the scars left by the whip. By the 1860s, 1.8 million enslaved Americans were engaged in the cultivation of cotton, the bulk of which was exported to Britain.

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34. There were around 4,500 mills in Lancashire processing cotton. The American Civil War plunged the region into an economic crisis known as the Cotton Famine.

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35. A wedding photograph of James Davies and Sarah Forbes Bonetta. Captured in war as an infant, she was presented to a British naval officer by King Ghezo of Dahomey as a gift for Queen Victoria. Brought up under the protection of the Queen, her wedding in 1862 was a society event.

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36. Cetshwayo kaMpande, the king of the Zulu who famously led his people to victory over British forces at the Battle of Isandlwana. After being deposed he toured Britain in 1882, had an audience with Queen Victoria and was partially restored to the throne.

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37. The ‘Congo conference’ of 1884–1885. Held in Berlin, this gathering of great powers set the terms by which the late-Victorian ‘Scramble for Africa’ was organized. No Africans were present.

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38. There are few images of the West Africa Squadron but later photographs taken of slavery-suppression missions in the Indian Ocean capture the drama. Here enslaved East Africans sit on the deck of HMS Daphne in November 1868.

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39. Children released from an intercepted dhow aboard HMS Daphne in 1868.

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40. The three kings of Bechuanaland travelled to Britain in 1895 in order to appeal to British public opinion and escape the clutches of Cecil Rhodes and the British South Africa Company. From left to right: Sebele I of the Bakwena, Bathoen I of the Bangwaketse, and Khama III of the Bamangwato. To the far right stands their ally, the Reverend William Charles Willoughby of the London Missionary Society.

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41. Khama III (c. 1837–1923), king of the Bamangwato people of Bechuanaland, now Botswana. Under his reign the country became a British protectorate.

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42. ‘The Conquest of Africa’, a children’s board game based on the travels of the African explorer and journalists Henry Morton Stanley.

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43. Senegalese wrestlers perform for visitors at a French colonial exhibition in a mock-African village specially constructed for the event in Paris.

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44. ‘A Peek at the Natives’. This contemporary and highly racialized illustration shows visitors to the infamous ‘Savage South Africa’ show at Earl’s Court in 1899. The show promised visitors ‘a sight never seen previously in Europe, a horde of savages direct from their kraals’.

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45. A postcard of Abomah the African Giantess, from around 1911. Believed to be around seven feet tall, she was billed in the music halls and theatres of Britain as an ‘African Amazon’, a female warrior of Dahomey. Her real name was Ella Williams, the daughter of liberated slaves from South Carolina.

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46. Pablo Fanque, the black circus performer and entrepreneur depicted in the Illustrated London News, 20 March 1847. A poster for one of his performances inspired the Beatles to write the song ‘Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite’, which appeared on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

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47. Walter Tull, c. 1910. Born in Folkestone, Kent in 1888, Tull was one of the the first black footballers in Britain. At outbreak of World War I, he joined the 1st Footballers’ Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. Despite military rules that barred black men from becoming officers, he was commissioned in May 1917 but died on the Somme in March 1918.

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48. Men of the British West Indies Regiment in camp on the Albert–Amiens Road, September 1916.

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49. The London Victory Parade, 19 July 1919. Flags of the Allied nations flew from windows along Whitehall and crowds lined the street by the Cenotaph. Black soldiers were not permitted to march among the ranks of the victorious armies.

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50. 130,000 African American GIs were stationed in Britain during the Second World War. By 1944 they represented the largest black population Britain had ever known.

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51. An African American GI dances with a white British woman at Frisco’s International Club, Piccadilly, London.

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52. Trinidadian-British cricketer Learie Constantine being congratulated by his solicitor outside court in June 1944, having successfully sued Imperial London Hotels for refusing him a room on the grounds of race.

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53. Dick Turpin, the first black British boxing champion. His father Lionel Turpin fought for Britain on the Western Front during the First World War.

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54. The Empire Windrush brought 492 West Indians to Britain in June 1948, and became a symbol of the start of post-war migration.

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55. Some of the 492 West Indians preparing to disembark from the Empire Windrush in 1948.

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56. West Indian migrants temporarily housed in the deep-level air-raid shelter under Clapham Common in south London.

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57. Racism in post-war Britain drove black migrants into the hands of slum landlords. Here a West Indian family struggle in squalid and overcrowded conditions, July 1949.

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58. Notting Hill, 3 September 1958. The police search a black man on Talbot Road during the so-called ‘race riots’. The violence was caused by racist thugs from across London who descended on Notting Hill, intent on attacking black residents.

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59. The East End of London in the 1960s. Racist graffiti scrawled on the front door of a black family’s home.

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60. Britain on 1 May 1968, eleven days after Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.

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61. Grieving protesters march from New Cross to the House of Commons in 1981 on the ‘Black People’s Day of Action’, after thirteen young black people were killed in a fire at Deptford in south London.

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62. Toxteth in 1981. Liverpool’s Chief Constable, Kenneth Oxford, later suggested the riots were caused by ‘the problem of half-castes in Liverpool’. There had been previous ‘race riots’ in Liverpool in 1948 and 1919.

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63. The Brixton riots erupted after the Metropolitan Police launched operation Swamp 81, which used the so-called ‘sus laws’ to stop and search young black people. The underlying causes of the riots were racism, unemployment and victimization by the police of British-born black youths.

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64. A mock-up of the Empire Windrush at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

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