For more information about Black History you can view the following sites:

Black Georgian - Shock of the Familiar, Black Cultural Archives

No Colour Bar - Black Arts in Action 1960 - 1990, Friends of the Huntley Archive at London Metropolitan Archive (FHALMA)

African Threads Hackney Style, Hackney Museum

West Africa - Word, Symbol, Song, British Library


The Seven Black Presidents Before Barack Obama
December 1, 2008 

Were There Black US Presidents before? The people thought that Barack Obama is the first black President of the United States. Wrong.

1. John Hanson (a Moor) was actually the 1st President of the United States, he served from 1781 – 1782 and he was black. The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation. This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large amounts of land).

Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the country. John Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington). In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major player in the revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress.

As President, Hanson ordered all foreign troops off American soil, as well as removal of all foreign flags. He established the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents since have been required to use on all Official Documents. He declared that the 4th Thursday of every November to be Thanksgiving Day, which is still true today. Even though elected, one variable that was never thought through was that America was not going to accept a Black President during the heart of the enslavement period. Enter George Washington.

2. Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd President of the United States, he served from 1801 – 1809 and he was black. His mother a half-breed Indian squaw and his father a mulatto (half white and half black) from Virginia. He fathered numerous children with Sally Hemmings, a mulatto slave with whom he lived with in Europe.

3. Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the United States. He served from 1829 – 1837 and he was black. His mother was a white woman from Ireland who had Andrew Jackson with a black man. His father’s other children (Andrew Jackson’s stepbrother) was sold into slavery.

4. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, he served from 1861 – 1865 and he was black. His mother was from an Ethiopian Tribe and his father was an African American. It was told that his father was Thomas Lincoln, a man to cover the truth, but he was sterile from childhood mumps and was later castrated, making it impossible for him to have been his father. Lincoln’s nickname “Abraham Africa-nus the First.”

5. Warren Harding was the 28th President of the United States, he served from 1921 – 1923 and he was black. Harding never denied his ancestry. When Republican leaders called on Harding to deny his “Negro” history, he said, “How should I know whether or not one of my ancestors might have jumped the fence?”

6. Calvin Coolidge was the 29th President of the United States, he served from 1923 – 1929 and he was black. He proudly admitted that his mother was dark but claimed it was because of a mixed Indian ancestry. His mother’s maiden name was “Moor.” In Europe the name “Moor” was given to all Black people just as in America the name “Negro” was used.

7. Dwight E. Eisenhower was the 33rd President of the United States, he served from 1953 – 1961 and he was black. His mother, Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower, an anti-war advocate, was half black.

So, America has survived and thrived through our first Seven Black Presidents and we will survive and THRIVE through the election of this one!
The first legal slave owner in the British colonies that would eventually become the United States was a black man.The man was Anthony Johnson.  Johnson first came over to America as an indentured servant, arriving in 1620 in the Colony of Virginia.

Who’s the woman on Canada’s new $10 bill? A Viola Desmond primer

In 1946, Viola Desmond’s stand at a segregated Nova Scotia movie theatre made her into a civil-rights icon for black Canadians. On Thursday, the federal government announced that she’ll be the new face on the Canadian $10 bill in 2018. Here’s what you need to know about her

Human Zoo

Withdraw the racist Exhibition "Exhibit B - The Human Zoo" from showing at the Barbican from 23rd-27th September 2014 by Sara Myers 

On 23rd-27th September 2014 the London’s Barbican Theatre had an exhibition by Brett Bailey that highlighted the legacy of European institutionalised racism.    The  articles attached informs of the victory by campaigners to have the heinous exhibition removed. 

With features as conspicuously Negroid as they were reputed to be by her contemporaries, it is no wonder that the black community, both in the U.S. and throughout the British Commonwealth, have rallied around pictures of Queen Charlotte for generations. They have pointed out the physiological traits that so obviously identify the ethnic strain of the young woman who, at first glance, looks almost anomalous, portrayed as she usually is, in the sumptuous splendour of her coronation robes.

Queen Charlotte, wife of the English King George III (1738-1820), was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. The riddle of Queen Charlotte's African ancestry was solved as a result of an earlier investigation into the black magi featured in 15th century Flemish paintings. Two art historians had suggested that the black magi must have been portraits of actual contemporary people (since the artist, without seeing them, would not have been aware of the subtleties in colouring and facial bone structure of quadroons or octoroons which these figures invariably represented) Enough evidence was accumulated to propose that the models for the black magi were, in all probability, members of the Portuguese de Sousa family. (Several de Sousas had in fact traveled to the Netherlands when their cousin, the Princess Isabella went there to marry the Grand Duke, Philip the Good of Burgundy in the year 1429.)

Six different lines can be traced from English Queen Charlotte back to Margarita de Castro y Sousa, in a gene pool which because of royal inbreeding was already minuscule, thus explaining the Queen's unmistakable African appearance.

Queen Charlotte's Portrait:
The Negroid characteristics of the Queen's portraits certainly had political significance since artists of that period were expected to play down, soften or even obliterate undesirable features in a subjects's face. Sir Allan Ramsay was the artist responsible for the majority of the paintings of the Queen and his representations of her were the most decidedly African of all her portraits. Ramsey was an anti-slavery intellectual of his day. He also married the niece of Lord Mansfield, the English judge whose 1772 decision was the first in a series of rulings that finally ended slavery in the British Empire. It should be noted too that by the time Sir Ramsay was commissioned to do his first portrait of the Queen, he was already , by marriage, uncle to Dido Elizabeth Lindsay, the black grand niece of Lord Mansfield.

Thus, from just a cursory look at the social awareness and political activism at that level of English society, it would be surprising if the Queen's negroid physiogomy was of no significance to the Abolitionist movement.

Lord Mansfield's black grand niece, for example, Ms. Lindsay, was the subject of at least two formal full sized portraits. Obviously prompted by or meant to appeal to abolitionist sympathies, they depicted the celebrated friendship between herself and her white cousin, Elizabeth Murray, another member of the Mansfield family. One of the artists was none other than Zoffany, the court painter to the royal family, for whom the Queen had sat on a number of occasions.

It is perhaps because of this fairly obvious case of propagandistic portraiture that makes one suspect that Queen Charlotte's coronation picture, copies of which were sent out to the colonies, signified a specific stance on slavery held, at least, by that circle of the English intelligencia to which Allan Ramsay, the painter belonged.

More on Queen Charlotte
Revealed: the Queen's black ancestors
The Times of London reports that a Portuguese descendent of Queen Charlotte confirmed Valdes' research into her heritage. (June 6, 1999)
Was this Britain's first black queen?
"The suggestion that Queen Charlotte was black implies that her granddaughter (Queen Victoria) and her great-great-great-great-granddaughter (Queen Elizabeth II) had African forebears. Perhaps, instead of just being a boring bunch of semi-inbred white stiffs, our royal family becomes much more interesting." (The Guardian, March 12, 2009)
For the initial work into Queen Charlotte's genealogy, a debt of gratitude is owed the History Department of McGill University. It was the director of the Burney Project (Fanny Burney, the prolific 19th century British diarist, had been secretary to the Queen), Dr. Joyce Hemlow, who obtained from Olwen Hedly, the most recent biographer of the Queen Charlotte (1975), at least half a dozen quotes by her contemporaries regarding her negroid features. Because of its "scientific" source, the most valuable of Dr. Hedley's references would, probably, be the one published in the autobiography of the Queen's personal physician, Baron Stockmar, where he described her as having "...a true mulatto face."

Perhaps the most literary of these allusions to her African appearance, however, can be found in the poem penned to her on the occasion of her wedding to George III and the Coronation celebration that immediately followed.

Descended from the warlike Vandal race,
She still preserves that title in her face.
Tho' shone their triumphs o'er Numidia's plain,
And and Alusian fields their name retain;
They but subdued the southern world with arms,
She conquers still with her triumphant charms,
O! born for rule, - to whose victorious brow
The greatest monarch of the north must bow.

Finally, it should be noted that the Royal Household itself, at the time of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, referred to both her Asian and African bloodlines in an apologia it published defending her position as head of the Commonwealth.

More about Research into the Black Magi:
In the Flemish masterpieces depicting the Adoration of the Magi, the imagery of the black de Sousas had been utilized as both religious and political propaganda to support Portugal's expansion into Africa. In addition, the Flemish artists had drawn from a vocabulary of blackness which, probably due to the Reformation and the Enlightenment, has long since been forgotten. There was a wealth of positive symbolism that had been attributed to the black African figure during the Middle Ages. Incredible as it would seem to us today, such images had been used to represent not only Our Lady - evidence of which can be found in the cult of the Black Madonna that once proliferated in Europe - but in heraldic traditions, the Saviour and God the Father, Himself.

Legacies of British Slave-ownership

Legacies of British Slave-ownership

Britain has a selective memory of its slavery past. Our project will help us to rememberA database of all the slave owners in the British colonies at the time of abolition is an important record of the connections that formed modern Britain
Britain’s collective memory of our involvement in colonial slavery is dominated by the vividness with which we remember the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. What we have tended to forget is that the abolition of slavery itself, the eventual freeing of almost 800,000 enslaved people in Britain’s colonies, did not take place until the 1830s. Still less do we recall that when emancipation did come, the slave owners were paid compensation, and that the enslaved people received nothing. I am part of a team of historians who have been working to rectify this historical amnesia, and to make freely available the extraordinary data at the National Archives in Kew, contained in the records of the Slave Compensation Commission, which was set up to distribute the £20m (£17bn today) among the slave owners.

The current Legacies of British Slave -ownership (LSB) database contains the details of all the slave owners in the British colonies who were awarded compensation when Britain abolished slavery in the 1830s. We had intended that this should be a fully public resource: the data appeared to us to be too important to be held back and confined to academia. The database is the result of collaboration not only among the team members at UCL, but among hundreds of contributors outside academia who have shared their information with us: we continue to welcome new information and material from users.

When emancipation did come, slave owners were paid compensation, and the enslaved people received nothing The database is searchable by many criteria: for example, the family name of the slave owners, their address in Britain, or the name of the estate in the Caribbean to which the compensation award applied. The online database is entitled ‘Legacies of British Slave-ownership’.

We have also sketched hundreds of “legacies”: specific physical, commercial, cultural, philanthropic, intellectual and political impacts in Britain that flowed from the slave owners. The site is intended as a research tool not only for academic historians but for historians of firms and institutions, for local historians and family researchers, and for all those interested in the connections of the past with the present.

Immediately after its launch, we had more than 100,000 hits on the site. Since then, usage has settled with periodic spikes, as has been the case over the past few days due to the publicity for the BBC documentary Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners, the first part of which airs tonight.

We are now working on a new phase of the project, to trace the development of the ownership of estates (and thus of the enslaved people on those estates) from the mid-18th century to the moment of emancipation: in other words, to answer the question: how did we get to the final structure of slave ownership in the 1830s? As a result of this new work we will add thousands more slave owners. We plan to release the new dataset in 2016. As with the original database, this is likely to bring to light previously unknown or unacknowledged connections between slave ownership and firms, families and institutions that have contributed to the formation of modern Britain.

Ben Affleck doesn’t want to feel guilty about his slave-owning ancestors. Who would?
Deborah Orr
We all want a clear conscience, and to believe that history’s worst horrors belong firmly in the past. But events such as last weekend’s migrant boat disaster tell a different story

What has struck us and our users are not so much the spectacular individual examples of legacies – although those are certainly present – but the accumulation of hundreds and eventually thousands of specific imprints left by slave owners across the whole of the country: very few towns or even villages in Britain have no historical connections at all with slave ownership.

I should stress that the database is focused on the slave owners, not on the enslaved people. We know that our material can be very helpful to those researching ancestors among the enslaved people, but we know also that the histories of enslaved people are by definition fragmented, and that our work cannot ever repair this and often cannot make any difference.

Building bridges between academic historians and the wider public has become both more important (because of the pressures for academics to justify their privileges by demonstrating the wider appetite for the results of their work), and more possible (because of the power of the internet in disseminating new findings and in tapping the knowledge of thousands of contributors outside universities). The LBS database is one product of these dual processes
Featuring two books by Dr Francis Benskin

1  Black children and underachievement in schools
2  Race Education and Immigration policy

for copies go to