15 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 →
Origin myths among the Hausa claim that their founder, Bayajidda, came from the east in an effort to escape his father. He eventually came to Gaya, where he employed some blacksmiths to fashion a knife for him. With his knife he proceeded to Daura where he freed the people from the oppresive nature of a sacred snake who guarded their well and prevented them from getting water six days out of the week. The queen of Daura gave herself in marriage to Bayajidda to show her appreciation. She gave birth to seven healthy sons, each of whom ruled the seven city states that make up Hausaland. Continue reading →
Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire
By Drusilla Dunjee Houston, 1926 [Edited]
This is a pioneering, long-lost, work of Afrocentric history. Drusilla Dunjee Houston, (1876-1941) was a teacher, journalist and self-taught historian. Houston undertook a life-long quest to discover African history from an African-American perspective. However, at the time that Houston wrote, history was viewed through a Eurocentric perspective.
CHAPTER II. OLD ETHIOPIA–ITS PEOPLE.
The Greeks looked to old Ethiopia and called the Upper Nile the common cradle of mankind. Toward the rich luxury of this region they looked for the “Garden of Eden.” From these people of the Upper Nile arose the oldest traditions and rites and from them sprang the first colonies and arts of antiquity. The Greeks also said that Egyptians derived their civilization and religion from Ethiopia. “Egyptian religion was not an original conception, for three thousand years ago she had lost all true sense of its real meaning among even the priesthood.” Continue reading →
1. Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jnr was born on 17 August 1887 in St Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. His parents were Malcus Mosiah Garvey Snr, a stone mason and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker. The Garvey’s had 11 children, nine of whom died in early childhood. Only Marcus Garvey and his eldest sister Indiana lived to adulthood.
2. Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s first wife was Amy Ashwood Garvey (1897-1969). They married in New York in 1919 but divorced in 1922. Amy Ashwood was a very active Pan-Africanist, social worker and activist for women’s rights.
3. Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s second wife was Amy Jacques Garvey (1895-1973). They married in New York in 1922 after his divorce. Continue reading →
“Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.” – Marcus Garvey
Born in Jamaica, Marcus Garvey worked for the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he co-founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and African Communities League, dedicated to promoting African-Americans and resettlement in Africa. He promoted a separate black nation. Garvey advanced a Pan-African philosophy which inspired the movement known as Garveyism. Garvey would eventually inspire others, from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was born on August 17, 1887, in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Marcus Garvey was the last of 11 children born to Marcus Garvey, Sr. and Sarah Jane Richards. His father was a stone mason, and his mother a domestic worker and farmer.
To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Banneker, 19 August 1791
From Benjamin Banneker
Maryland. Baltimore County. Near Ellicotts Lower Mills
August 19th: 1791
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 →
In 1753, Benjamin Banneker engineered the first striking clock made entirely of wooden parts. This invention marked the advent of his rise to fame as people would travel from far and near to witness his remarkable invention. Made entirely of hand carved wood parts and pinions, the clock struck on the hour for over 50 years.
Banneker was the first to track the 17 year locust cycle, a valuable revelation to farmers enabling them to prepare for attacks by locusts on their crops. He was among the first scientific farmers to employ crop rotation and water irrigation techniques. He enjoyed eviable results as a tobacco farmer, and harvested his own food crop.
Banneker was among the first Americans, and the first African-American, to publish almanacs, a valuable tool in an agricultural economy. His almanacs were publicly sold from 1792 to 1799, and did quite well. Continue reading →