Tag Archive | "Black Edwardians"

Books about Black British History

Black History BooksA reading list of books related to the ongoing Black presence in Britain, Slavery, colonialism and black Settlement in the U.K
The list is by no means exhaustive!

Books about Black British History

  • Staying Power-The History of Black people in Britain by Peter Fryer
    (Pluto Press 1984)
  • Black England-Life before Emancipation by Gretchen Gerzina
    (John Murray,1995)
  • Black Settlers in Britain 1555-1958 by Nigel File and chris Power
    (Heinemann,1981; reprinted 1995)
  • Black Edwardians-Black people in Britain 1901-1914 by Jeffrey Green
    (Frank Cass 1998)
  • Wonderful adventures of Mary Seacole in Many Lands by Mary seacole
    (1857; reprinted by Falling Wall Press,edited by Ziggy Alexander and Audrey Dewjee,1984).
  • Black Londoners 1880-1990by susan Okokon
    (Sutton Publishing Limited, 1998)
  • The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave
    (1831; reprinted by the University of Michigan Press, edited by Moira Ferguson,1993).
  • The first Black footballer-Arthur Wharton 1865-1930 An Absence of Memory by Phil Vasili
    (frank Cass,1998, reprinted 1999)
  • Colouring over the white Line- The History of Black footballers in Britain by Phil Vasili
    (Mainstream Publishing,2000)
  • Breaking Stereotypes-Perspectives of Selected Black and Asian Leaders Edited by Clinton A.Valley,EdD.
    (Minerva Press, 2000)
  • West Indian Women at War-British Racism in World War II by Ben Bousquet and Colin Douglas
    (Lawrence and Wishhart, 1991)
  • Roots of the Future-Ethnic Diversity in the making of Britain
    By Commission for Racial Equality, 1997
  • England Affric-An Ethnological Survey by Ahmed ali and Abrahim Ali
    (Punite Books, 1995) ISBN 0 9518924 4 4
  • A History of the Black Presence in London (Greater London Council, 1986)
    ISBN 0 7168 1679 2
  • Black and white- the Negro and English Society 1555-1945 By James Walvin
    (Allen Lane, 1973)

For a more exhaustive list of useful Books on Black History, you can download a copy of the the Black & Asian Resources available at the British Library.

Posted in African History, Black Britain, Black History, Black History Month UK, Black People in Europe, Caribbean History, SlaveryComments (3)

Annie Gross tried for Murder 1912

Annie Gross

Annie Gross

Annie Gross was a black entertainer from America. She and her husband Harry had been working in New York before touring British Music Halls.

Harry Gross had left Annie for an actress called Jessie Mackintosh, they were living in actors lodgings in Coram Street, Central London. He had been in a song and dance act in the New Cross Empire and was throwing a party to celebrate its success before leaving for Sheffield. At around Midnight that night the doorbell rang and Miss Mackintosh went to answer the door, but saw a little girl was running away, she tried to catch the girl but couldn’t so returned to the party, telling the other party goers.

A couple of hours later, Jessie Mackintosh came face to face with Annie Gross either in the bedroom or on the landing. though accounts differ with regards to the exact location. Gross fired a revolver several times, Harry Gross rushed out to see what was happening, and had the gun pointed at him, his wife pulled the trigger but there were no bullets left. She rushed past him and out into the street. Later she gave her self up to a Police Officer at Russel Square.

The case was reported by a number of newpapers. The Illustrated Police News ran a story and published an artists impression of of the shooting. The Times reported ‘Arrest of a coloured woman’

The Daily Chronicle of Monday 2 December 1912 had ‘Actress shot in Bloomsbury. Murder by Six-Foot Negress. Music Hall Party Tradgedy. Midnight entry to house by trick’.

The revolver had been acquired by a man of colour Frank Craig. Craig was arrested by police but then released by the police when they couldn’t disprove his statement that the gun had been for Mrs Gross’s protection as ‘she was the only coloured woman in the house’ .

The trial was in January 1913. The jury heard the the Gross’s were married in Chicago 1903 and then left for London in 1908, to be joined later by his wife. After arriving in London, he had taken her money, tried to get her deported and forced her into prostitution and then left her for another woman.

Annie Gross told the Jury that she hadn’t meant to kill Mackintosh but had gone to speak to her husband, when he had hit her she pulled out the gun, and fired, not realising that she had hit Mackintosh. The judge told the jury that if Gross had hit his wife, and tshe then killed him the verdict should be manslaughter, but if she had hidden in the house and then emerged to kill the mistress hours later, then the verdict should be murder.

After 35 minutes the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter. The judge disagreed with them and told them so. The Daily Mail reported the verdict and alluded to their disapproval of inter racial sex. The Times reported that it was odd that a manslaughter verdict be passed in a Murder trial, and that the judge told the juy that he disagreed with their verdict.

Annie Gross was given a sentence of five years in Prison. Jeffery Green writes in the book ‘Black Edwardians';

” Surely the jury had felt that she had suffered enough, with the beatings, humiliation and prostitution. They also probabaly had no respect for the dead woman who had taken up with a Black entertainer from the United States”.

Related Links

The Sydney Morning Herald – Annie Gross

Posted in African American History, Black Britain, Black History, Black WomenComments (2)

Dido Elizabeth Bell Lindsay-Aristocrat

Dido Elizabeth Lindsay

Dido Elizabeth Lindsay

In the 18th Century, some Black people in the Eighteenth Century were considerably more privileged than most. One such Woman was Dido Elizabeth Bell Lindsay.

Dido was the daughter of Captain John Lindsay of the Royal Navy. She was born in England to an African mother who was captured from a Spanish ship.

Dido lived in Kenwood with her Great uncle William Murray until she was at least thirty. Although she was not a servant, it seems that she had a statues slightly lower than that of a full family member. Among her tasks were tending to Cattle and Poultry.

Murray and his Wife were childless and seemed happy to raise Dido and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Lindsay, whose mother had died while she was still an infant. Authors Speculate that Dido’s role in the family might have been that of ‘Playmate or attendant to her cousin.

The Portrait by Zoffany proves that Dido grew up to be an elegant and beautiful young woman. Her high status afforded her presents at Christmas and Birthdays that were more than normal servants would get, yet certainly less than her cousin Lady Elizabeth.

When her cousin left Kenwood to marry in 1785 Dido stayed on to look after the Murrays. While she stayed there records show that she lived in some comfort. Her bed was hung with glazed Chintz, she had asses milk when she was ill and a mahogany table made for her.
(Adams p13).

After her fathers death she received One thousand pounds. In her fathers obituary, which appeared in the London Chronicle she was referred to as having an amiable disposition and accomplishments which have gained her the highest respect.
(London Times, June 9th 1788,555)

When her Great Uncle died he left her a further 500 pounds and 100 pounds per year for life. He also made certain that she was a free woman. Little is known of Dido after the death of her uncle except that we can assume that she married, in 1779 her name changes to Davinier and she left Kenwood.

Related Links

Posted in African History, Black Britain, Black History Month UK, Black People in Europe, Black Women, Caribbean HistoryComments (1)