Writing Their Scripts

30 Women You Need To Know15 Things You Did Not Know about the History of Black People in London before 1948
By Charmaine Simpson, December 2012

The presence of Africans in England dates back to at least the Roman period when African soldiers who served as part of the Roman army were stationed at Hadrian’s Wall during the 2nd century CE. Septimus Severus, the emperor who was born in Libya, spent his last three years in Britain before he died in York in 211 CE.

I will present 15 facts aimed at raising the level of knowledge, and uncovering the hidden histories, of people of African and Caribbean descent who have contributed to London before 1948.

1. The earliest known [public] record of a Black person living in London is of “Cornelius a Blackamoor” whose burial on 2nd March 1593 was recorded in the parish register at St Margaret’s Church in Lee. Continue reading

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Gran Colombia

The division of Gran Colombia (1830).Gran Colombia
Alternative Titles: Great Colombia, Republic of Colombia, Republic of Gran Colombia

Gran Colombia, formal name Republic of Colombia, a short-lived republic (1819–30) formerly the Viceroyalty of New Granada, including roughly the modern nations of Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

In the context of their war for independence from Spain, revolutionary forces in northern South America, led by Simón Bolívar, in 1819 laid the basis for a regular government at a congress in Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela).

Their republic was definitely organized at the Congress of Cúcuta in 1821. Before then the government had been military and highly centralized with direct executive power exercised by regional vice presidents while President Bolívar was campaigning. Continue reading

Garvey Said, Let There Be…

Philosophy and Opinions OF MARCUS GARVEY


CHAPTER II


PROPAGANDA

        We are living in a civilization that is highly developed.  We are living in a world that is scientifically arranged in which everything done by those who control is done through system; proper arrangement, proper organization, and among some of the organized methods used to control the world is the thing known and called “PROPAGANDA.”
Propaganda has done more to defeat the good intentions of races and nations than even open warfare.
Propaganda is a method or medium used by organized peoples to convert others against their will.
We of the Negro race are suffering more than any other race in the world from propaganda – Propaganda to destroy our hopes, our ambitions and our confidence in self.
Continue reading

Banneker versus Jefferson

 Benjamin Banneker Une image de Banneker debout derri re unTo Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Banneker, 19 August 1791

From Benjamin Banneker

Maryland. Baltimore County. Near Ellicotts Lower Mills
August 19th: 1791

Sir

I am fully sensible of the greatness of that freedom which I take with you on the present occasion; a liberty which Seemed to me scarcely allowable, when I reflected on that distinguished, and dignifyed station in which you Stand; and the almost general prejudice and prepossession which is so prevailent in the world against those of my complexion.

I suppose it is a truth too well attested to you, to need a proof here, that we are a race of Beings who have long laboured under the abuse and censure of the world, that we have long been looked upon with an eye of contempt, and1 that we have long been considered rather as brutish than human, and Scarcely capable of mental endowments. Continue reading

UK Plantation Economy

Advertisement, an estate for sale on NevisThe plantation economy

Land in the Caribbean islands was cheap, but the costs of setting up a sugar plantation were high. Sir Dalby Thomas in 1690 estimated that a 100 acre plantation on the island of Barbados, with 50 enslaved Africans, seven white indentured servants, sugar mill, boiling works, equipment and livestock would cost £5,625 (over £250,000 at today’s values). To recover these costs, the plantations had to produce enough good quality sugar to pay off debts and mortgages and cover the running costs each year. The owners also wanted a profit. Some families, such as the Pinneys of Nevis in the Caribbean and Bristol, were able to build up a fortune based on land, sugar producing and trading.

Enslaved people from Africa were the basis of these sugar fortunes. John Pinney, a plantation owner on the island of Nevis, wrote in the 1760s to his managers “a word respecting the care of my slaves and stock [animals] – your own good sense must tell you they are the sinews of a Plantation and must claim your particular care and attention”. He also wrote that “it is impossible for a Man to make sugar without the assistance of Negroes as to make bricks without straw”. Continue reading

Bristol Business

CoinSpain’s Slavery Contract
From Discovering Bristol [edited]

Spain was building its empire in the [re]discovered lands of the Americas. It needed people to work in the mines and on the plantations that were developing. At first, the local people, AmerIndians, were used as free labour. They had been in the Americas long before the Spanish and other Europeans arrived. The AmerIndians were enslaved and forced to work by the newcomers. But, the AmerIndian population decreased rapidly after the Europeans [started exploiting and murdering them]. The Europeans came with swords and guns, as well as dogs and horses. The AmerIndians had bows and arrows and spears, and were no match for the newcomers. The Europeans brought diseases such as measles and the flu. The AmerIndians were not used to these new diseases, and they died in great numbers.

In 1500, it is estimated that there were about 50 million AmerIndians in the Americas. By 1600, after 100 years of European warfare, disease and forced labour, this number had been reduced to about 8 million. Continue reading

Slavery and American Policing

A Brief History of Slavery and the Origins of American Policing
Written by Victor E. Kappeler, Ph.D., Eastern Kentucky University

The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities. For example, New England settlers appointed Indian Constables to police Native Americans (National Constable Association, 1995), the St. Louis police were founded to protect residents from Native Americans in that frontier city, and many southern police departments began as slave patrols.

In 1704, the colony of Carolina developed the nation’s first slave patrol. Slave patrols helped to maintain the economic order and to assist the wealthy landowners in recovering and punishing slaves who essentially were considered property. Continue reading