Joseph Emidy (also spelt Emedy or Emedee) had been second violin in the orchestra of the Lisbon opera house before being pressed into the Royal Navy in 1795.
Born in West Africa in c.1775 JOSEPH ANTONIO EMIDY was enslaved as a child by Portuguese traders, taken to Brazil and subsequently Portugal where he became a virtuoso violinist in the Lisbon Opera. Kidnapped by British sailors during the Napoleonic wars, he spent the next four years as a ship fiddler
Once discharged in 1799, he resumed his career as a professional musician both in Falmouth and Truro, to where he later moved with his family. Emidy also privately taught a variety of instruments, including the violin.
Over the years, he became a highly regarded and popular performer both at local balls and parties and among the local harmonic societies (or amateur orchestras) and concert groups. For some time, he was leader of the Harmonic Society of Falmouth. This untitled anonymous drawing almost certainly shows Emidy performing with a harmonic society in Truro, in 1808.
Emidy wrote a number of musical compositions, many of which were performed at local concerts and benefits with great success. Fears, however, that his colour would render him unacceptable to London musical circles meant that none of his compositions gained a wider audience and, unfortunately, no copies of his work appear to have survived. After his death, one of his former pupils, the anti-slavery politician James Silk Buckingham, described Emidys work as an ‘achievement of extraordinary perfection.
1492-1493- A black navigator, Pedro Alonso Nino, travels with Christopher Columbus
1494- The first Africans arrive in Hispaniola (current day Haiti – Dominican Republic) with Christopher Columbus. They are free persons.
1501- The Spanish king allows the introduction of enslaved African into Spain
1511-The first enslaved Africans arrive in Hispaniola.
1513-Thirty African accompany Vasco Nunez de Balboa on his trip to the Pacific Ocean.
1517-Bishop Bartolome de Las Casas petitions Spain to allow the Importation of 12 enslaved Africans for each household immigration to Americas Spanish colonies. De Las Casas later regrets this plea, and becomes a strong opponent of slavery.
1519-Hernan Cortez begins his conquest of the Aztec Empire. Black Spaniards are among the Conquistadors.
1520-Enslaved Africans are used as laborers in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico.
1528-Esteban, a Morocco-born Muslim slave, is one of what four survivors washed ashore hear present-day Galveston, Texas. He is the first known person of African ancestry to enter what is now the western United States.
1539-Esteban is part of an expedition led by Friar Marcos de Niza from Mexico City into the far north of New Spain (Colonial Mexico). Esteban, who moves ahead of the main expedition, is killed at the Zuni town of Hawikuh, just east of the present-day border of Arizona and Mexico.
1541-Persons of African ancestry accompany the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado from Mexico city to what is now central Kansas, some Africans remain behind in Kansas and New Mexico.
1570-New Spains (colonial Mexico) population includes 20,000 blacks, and 2,439 mulattoes.
Persons of African Ancestry are among the founders or early settlers of numerous towns in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California including San Antonio, Laredo, El Paso, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Tucson, San Diego, Monterey and San Francisco.
1609-Fugitive slaves in Mexico, led by Yanga, sign a truce with Spanish colonial authorities and obtained their freedom and a town of their own.
1617-The town of San Lorenzo de los Negros receives a charter from Spanish colonial officials in Mexico and becomes the first officially recognized free settlement for blacks in the New World.
1646- New Spains (colonial Mexico) population includes 35,089 blacks and 116,529 mulattoes.
1781- Los Angeles is founded by 44 settlers including 26 who have some African ancestry.
1793- New Spains population includes 6,100 blacks and 369,790 mulatoes.
1810- Slavery is abolished in Mexico the same year Mexico gain independence from Spain. One of the leaders of the independence movement and the abolition was the mulatto Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.
1886- Slavery is abolished in Cuba. Twelve years latter Cuba declares independence from Spain.
1992 – The Mexican government officially acknowledge that the African culture represented the third root of Mexican Culture, with the Spanish and the indigenous people.