As Black History Month kicked off in the UK this week, my twitter feed has featured some fascinating research and writing about Britain’s black history. I’ll update this page as the month progresses with links to articles, historians, writers etc which contribute to getting Britain’s black history out in the public domain.
Melissa Bennett, UK-based historian of the Caribbean and photography – check out her Instagram blog
English Heritage has uncovered the identities of 2,500 Afro-Caribbean prisoners of war kept at Portchester Castle in England. This website tells the story of the prisoners’ transportation and life at Portchester.
Fay Young’s article on Sceptical Scot about Black History Month in Scotland
Black History Month in the UK
100 Great Black Britons relaunches for 2017
On the 30th anniversary of Black History Month, Patrick Vernon talks about why he’s relaunching the campaign and explains how to nominate
via 100 Great Black Britons relaunches for 2017 — Media Diversified
The latest edition of SX Salon contains a detailed and thoughtful review by Erin Zavitz of Dr Marlene Daut’s 2015 book Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865. SX Salon is a literary platform which reviews and engages with Caribbean literature, broadly defined, and is part of the larger SX project.
Click here to read the review.
I’m always on the lookout for freely available digital resources so was excited to see links within Zavitz’s review to two digital projects connected with Tropics of Haiti. Both are brilliant examples of different ways of presenting information—not to mention demonstrating Daut’s generosity as a scholar in sharing her work.
The first online project is Fictions of the Haitian Revolution, in which Daut lists the hundreds of texts she uncovered whilst researching her book. The site lists works in French, English, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and German. Daut updates the site regularly with news about Tropics of Haiti, the Anthology of Haitian Revolutionary Fictions, and her archival findings.
The second resource is an online story map of the Revolution, The Haitian Atlantic: A Literary Geography. The site traces some of the ways that Atlantic world writers attempted to engage with the history, language, and legacy of the Haitian Revolution in the long nineteenth century. Take a look – this is a beautiful site.
The link below will take you to an article written by Miles Ogborn, Professor of Geography at Queen Mary University of London.
Jamaican Maroons fought two major wars against the British during the 18th century. With reference to maps and views in the King’s Topographical Collection, Miles Ogborn investigates this community of escaped slaves and their attempts to win back independence.
Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, has published an excerpt from the preface to Professor Beckles’s most recent book: The First Black Slave Society: Britain’s “Barbarity Time” in Barbados, 1636—1876. In the book, Beckles explores the brutal course of Barbados’s history, and argues that the distinct social character and cultural identity of modern Barbados are rooted in its past as the birthplace of British slave society.
This is a link to the blogpost on Black Perspectives: On Barbados, the First Black Slave Society
Professor Clare Anderson is the director of a European Research Council funded project: “The Carceral Archipelago.” The project analyses the relationships and circulations between and across convict transportation, penal colonies and labour, migration, coercion and confinement, across a wide geographical area, and a chronology which stretches from 1415 to 1960. Dr Anderson recently travelled to Guyana to follow up on her research on the history of HM Penal Settlement Mazaruni. This settlement was established in British Guiana in 1842, remained open until 1930-9 when it closed briefly, reopened in 1940, and changed its name to Mazaruni Prison in 1950. Since Guyana’s independence in 1966 it has remained in use as a jail.
Dr Anderson’s interest in Mazaruni was piqued by stories of French convicts escaping into British jurisdictions in the Caribbean. Click this link to read her recent blogpost about her trip to Guyana.
For more on the Carceral Archipelago – visit the project’s homepage here. Dr Anderson can be found on twitter here