British Black History events & news at 9 April

Alex Elden 

A few days after the death of Darcus Howe, another Norbury resident Alex Elden died.

He had served in the RAF from 1944, and after going back to Jamaica he returned on the SS Windrush. He had been active in the West Indian Ex-Servicemen and women’s organisation, supported Melting Pot project in Brixton and ran a taxi driving skills school.

Further details of his life will be posted.

Until Saturday 27 May. Vron Ware’s photographs documenting the Black People’s Day of Action (1981) Exhibition.

In the early hours of 18 January 1981 a fire broke out at 439 New Cross Road. 13 young black Londoners were killed. In response to public indifference, negative media coverage, and perceived police inaction, thousands of people came together to protest against racist violence on 2 March 1981. Vron Ware documented this historic occasion in vivid detail. While the images capture the defiant solidarity of the women and men taking part, they are supplemented by shocking evidence of the way it was subsequently reported by the Fleet Street press.

Goldsmiths, University of London, Richard Hoggart Building
Kingsway Corridor, Dixon Road, London, SE14 6YZ.

Black Music History events

Black Film events

Tuesday 18 April. 6.30pm. Blackamoores in Tudor England – Illuminating a Hidden Time

Library @ The Curve –  William Street, Slough SL1 1XY.

Narrative Eye. To book visit:

Thursday 20 April. Black and Minority Ethnic Historians’ Workshop

School of History, University of Leeds.

Friday 21 April. 10am-4.30pm. Immigration in Britain, 1300-1900 Conference

Keble College, University of Oxford.

Monday 24 April. 5.30. ‘The Battle of Wood Green’ 40 years on. Assessing the impact of anti-fascism

Keith Flett and others

London Socialist Historians seminar. IHR, Senate House.

Tuesday 25 April. 6.15-7.45pm. Blackamoores and Tudor England – The Untold History of an Influential Era

Narrative Eye event at The Library at Willesden Green, 95 High Road, Willesden, London, NW10 2SF

Sunday 30 April. 2-3:15pm. Shakespeare’s other countrymen: ‘Blackamoore wenches’ and Barbary African ‘king children’ in Tudor England

Narrative Eye event at Phoenix Cinema – 52 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 9PJ.

Saturday 13 May. 12.30–4.30pm. African History Month UK Network Launch

Thursday 18 May. 5.30. Slavery and Jamaican Appeals to the Privy Council, c. 1760-1790

Kennedy Sanderson, University of Cambridge.

History Lab Seminar, IHR, Senate House.

Essays and books

  • The Spanish Slave Trades

  • Atlantic Slavery in Britain

Catherine Molineux, Faces of Perfect Ebony: Encountering Atlantic Slavery in Imperial Britain (Harvard University Press, 2012),

  • Mixing race in Britain: the influence of academic publics

Essay by Chamion Caballero includes a discussion of the 1930 report b by Muriel Fletcher on the ‘colour problem’ in Liverpool and other Ports.

  • James Grainger’s Sugar Cane poem (1764)

James Grainger was an Edinburgh-trained physician; regular writer for the Monthly Review, the first English translator of the Roman poet Tibullus, and author of a pioneering neoclassical poem on Caribbean agriculture, The Sugar-Cane (1764.

  • Jayaben Desai, Ida B. Wells and Mirian Makeba.

These three activists appear in a new book Modern Women. 52 Pioneers by Kira Cochrane (Frances Lincoln).

  • India – the Empire’s legacy of exploitation and ruin

Shashi Tharoor, author of Inglorious Empire (Hurst & Co) discussed the Empire’s legacy in the Guardian 2 section on 9 March.

His book tells the real story of the British in India – from the arrival of the East India Company to the end of the Raj – revealing how Britain’s rise was built upon its plunder of India.

The author is a Congress MP in India, who previously served for twenty-nine years at the UN, culminating as Under-Secretary-General.

Emma Clarke – black woman  footballer (1895-1903)

You may have missed the article in the Guardian Sport section on 29 March about Liverpool born (1876) Emma was the daughter of William and Wilhemina Clarke. William worked on the barges. Emma and her sisters liked playing football in the streets in Bootle. She made her debut in 1895, and from 1896 was a member of Mrs Graham’s XI which toured Scotland in 1896. Sister Jane also became a member. A drawing of the team was  in the Daily Mail of 2 April 1897, and she appears to have continued to play until at least 1903.

Details can be seen at

Paul Robeson in the time of Trump

The growing commemoration of Paul Robeson in the United States continues and perhaps is more important with the current intolerance of the new Trump administration. Events have included:

  • Susan Robeson, his granddaughter, spoke about what it means to be a global citizen in today’s world and how to stay true to Robeson’s ideals of peace and freedom, as part of a commemoration of his life at the Somerville Borough Library on 8 April; Robeson went to Somerville High School
  • ‘Happy Birthday’ reflections on the blog of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

  • Harry Belafonte and Susan Robeson spoke at Rutgers University’s Second Annual Paul Robeson Lecture Series on April 5,

  • Body and Soul: The Art and Activism of Paul Robeson’ continues through the month of April  at Lafayette

Florence B Price (1887 – 1953)

The African-American composer Florence B. Price will be the subject of a feature on BBC Radio 3 and performances by the BBC Orchestra and choirs in 2018. Composer Shirley Thompson is working on the programme, having suggested Price to the BBC.

For more detail see:

Shirley’s website is at:

Jeffrey Green new Postcards

New postings on Jeff Green’s Post website are:

173: Robert Branford, 1817-1869: London police superintendent

174: Frederick Douglass’s first tour of the British Isles 1845-1847

175: Petty Officer William Brown, 1832-1885

176: Kamal Chunchie and the Coloured Men’s Institute, London 1920s and 1930s

177: Isaac William Cisco (1848-1905) of North Carolina and Lancashire



About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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