Tag Archive | "Britain"

Jack Leslie

Jack F. Leslie was a former black football player in Britain. He signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking Town in 1921.Jack F. Leslie is a former football player. He signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking Town in 1921. Leslie scored over 400 goals in his career, 134 of those for Plymouth in 400 appearances. He retired in 1935. A call-up to the national team was cancelled when officials realized he was a “a man of colour.

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie


Despite an impressive 15-year run which saw him playing to crowds of over 40,000 people and notching up an impressive 400 match appearances with over 130 goals, Leslie suff ered catcalls from the crowd, who discriminated against him because he was black.

“I used to get a lot of abuse in matches. ‘Here darkie, I’m gonna break your leg,’ they’d shout.

“There was nothing wicked about it – they were just trying to get under my skin.”

Argyle co-ordinator Peter Hall reminisces about the times he saw Leslie play.


“On August 26, 1933 – I was six years old – we played Manchester Utd and won 4-1. “I always remember that Jack Leslie played a huge part in that win – it was a real treat to watch him play. He was everywhere, his passing was first class, and his shooting power was enormous. If there ever was an Argyle legend, it was Jack Leslie.”

No Black Footballers for England

Leslie proved himself as a top goal-scorer, holding the record for the most league goals scored (35) between 1927 and 1929, but this still wasn’t enough for officials who believed he wasn’t fit to join the esteemed national side.

“They found out I was a darkie and I suppose that was like finding out I was foreign.”

This shattered Leslie’s dreams of an international career.

He famously commented to Pilgrims teammate and later journalist Brian Woolnough,

“They must have forgotten I was a coloured boy.”


Jack Leslie retired in 1934, later he went to work for his local club West Ham United as part of their back room team.

Related Links

BBC – Footballer Jack Leslie
Wikipedia – Jack Leslie




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Mixed Marriage Record 1770

Mixed Marriage 1770

Mixed Marriage 1770

Marriage Record

Record of a Michael Thomas(Black) & Ann Brandley (White) being married in Southwark on November 5th, 1770. This Morning Michael Thomas, a black, and Ann Brandley, a white, were married at St. Olave’s, Southwark; but while the ceremony was performing a preƒs-gang interupted the minister in the celebration of his office;
upon which a conteƒt aroƒe, and the clergyman received a blow upon the breaƒt, but a conƒtable being called immediateley, the Lieutenant was ƒecured and carried before a magiƒtrate, but after proper ƒubmiƒƒion, was, by the generoƒity of the miniƒter, was releaƒed without farther proƒecution. The poor black, with his bride, made his escape in the fray.





http://Annual Register VOL.13 Dec 1770 Page 161. (Chronicle)


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Soft Lights and Sweet Music – Elisabeth Welch on Screen

Elizabeth Welch

Elizabeth Welch

Soft Lights and Sweet Music

Elisabeth Welch on Screen
with Stephen Bourne
Saturday 29 October 2011 @ 2:30pm-5.00pm
Elisabeth Welch’s biographer, Stephen Bourne, will share his personal memories of the stage and screen legend. Born in New York, Elisabeth settled in London in 1933 and became the most famous Black woman in pre-war Britain. Her 70-year career included work with Paul Robeson, Cole Porter and Derek Jarman, and she performed in West End musicals throughout. A sophisticated interpreter of popular songs, British audiences were drawn to Elisabeth’s soft, lovely voice and charming personality.
Ticket prices £8 (on the door) £6.50 (advance) £5 (concessions)
The Cinema Museum
2 Dugard Way
London SE11 4TH
020 7840 2200

Posted in African American History, Black Britain, Black History, Black History Books, Black WomenComments (0)

Black Romans At Hadrians Wall

Black Romans at Hadrians Wall In the 3rd Century AD. the Libyan born emporer of Rome sent a “Division of Moors” to be Garisoned at Hadrians Wall.In the 3rd Century AD. the Libyan born Emperer of Rome sent a “Division of Moors” to be Garrisoned at Hadrians Wall.

The division was named (Numerus Maurorum Aurelianorum) after Marcus Aurelius or another emperor who may have been known by the same official name.

The Unit was stationed near Burgh on sands, near Carlisle.

Septimus Severus was inspecting the Wall inthe year 210 when he was reputedly mocked by an “Ethiope” who was wearing a garland of Cyprus. The Cyprus bough was sacred to Pluto, god of the underworld.

When ordered away, the black soldier replied with sarcasm ” You have been all things, conquered all things, now, O conquerer, be a god!”

Severus perceived this to be a bad omen. He died shortly afterwards in York.

As well as the common soldier or slaves, there may well have been officers or Prefects from North africa Living in the area.

In 1951 a Romano-British cemetery was unearthed in York. 350 skeletons were found of which several exhibit limb proportions which suggest that they were black Africans.

It is important to state that no one can be exactly sure of the ethnicity of Septimus Severus. Todays Libyans are Arabs in the main, yet there are Naturalised sub saharan Africans living amongst them. Libyans have a high mixture of Arab and Berber blood. Berbers are found from the top of Africa, right down into Mail and Senegal.

North AfricaRomans

Comment on the Black Romans http://tinyurl.com/2xewet

Roman Emperors http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm



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Len Johnson – Black British Boxer

Len-Johnson - Black British Boxer

Len-Johnson - Black British Boxer

Len Johnson was a Black British Boxer from Manchester rising through the fairground Boxing Booths.

Johnson had an Illustrious career. He started his professional career in 1921although he had fought in boxing booths before turning professional.

He used the boxing booths for practise, and in particular the booths of Bill Moore. Moore was a very respected boxing booth proprietor. Len Johnson had nine fights for Moore and won seven of them in Manchester. Later he was to travel further afield to fight Jimmy cox of Wigan at Scottish Stadium,Govan.

Ex – Seaman Jimmy Cox and Len Johnson. The latter is a coloured gentleman of refined appearance, exceedingly clever in defence and attack and in the true sense of the word a boxer who delights in showing the finer points of the ‘Noble Art’. Johnson has beaten Pat McAllister, the Irish champion and hero of over 100 contests..

He continued his career over the next four years and continued to work in the boxing booths. Between 1927 and 1928 he was recognised as being one of the best boxers in the world in his division. However the boxing authorities refused to let coloured boxers compete for the Lonsdale belts in those days. This caused much anger in his home town of Manchester. One local newspaper recounts….

Johnson has won his way to the front of the middleweight division and yet is denied the opportunity of competing for the coveted Lonsdale Belt which would set the seal on his fame…All of which is strange in a country which has bestowed honours on men irrespective of race and creed, the sole consideration being outstanding merit in the particular spheres of life in which they have distinguished themselves.

Len Johnson - Boxer

Len Johnson - Boxer

Len became increasingly disillusioned with the Boxing Authorities, and set up his own boxing booth. He retired from the ring in 1933 after losing three of six fights. He then concentrated on his boxing booth. He appeared annually at the Nottingham Goose Fair, putting on 14 shows a day.

His show attracted many skilled boxers including Benny Lynch whom Len recommended to Elky Clarke, former boxer turned Journalist with Scottish paper ‘The Daily Record’. Len’s Hunch turned out to be right, Lynch went on to become a World Champion.

Len sold his Booth in 1940 and then left the Fairgounds. His standing was so great amongst his showland colleagues that he became a member of the Lancashire section of the Showmans Guild, (usually reserved only for those born into the community).

In 1945 Len became a Communist and between 1947 and 1962 stood for local elections six times in Manchester.


Never CountedOut:The story of Len Johnson,Manchester’s Black Boxing Hero and
Communist.-Micael Herbert (Manchester dropped aitches Press,1992)

A Fair Fight:An illustrated review of Boxing on british
Fairgrounds;-Vanessa Toulmin (Worlds Fair

Related Links

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Ottobah Cugoano – Abolitionist

Ottobah CugoanoOttobah Cugoano was born around 1757 in Ghana, he was kidnapped as a slave at around thirteen. He came to England from Grenada in 1752 and was set free. He was advised to be baptised to avoid being resold into Slavery he took the name John Steuart. He had close association with Oloudah Equiano and Granville Sharp. In 1786 when a black man called Henry Demane was kidnapped, it was Ottobah Cugoano who alerted Sharp who then rescued Demane.

The following year he published ‘Thoughts and Sentiments on

The Evil and Wicked Traffic Of Slavery”and “The Commerce of The Human Species”. The book sets about demolishing the arguments for slavery. It was ground breaking in its content because Ottobah Cugoano declared that the enslaved Blacks had both the moral right and the moral duty to resist their masters.

quoteIf any man should buy another man…and compel him to his service and slavery without any agreement of that man to serve him, the enslaver? is? a robber and a defrauder of that man every day.? Wherefore it is as much the duty of a man who is robbed in that manner to get out of the hands of his enslaver, as it the duty of any honest community of men to get out of the hands of thieves and villains.

Ottobah Cugoano dared to take a stand, and publicly demand the abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of the slaves. It was ideas such as Cuganno’s which paved the way for the beginning of Pan Africanism.

Posted in African History, Black Britain, Black History, Black History Month UK, Black People in Europe, SlaveryComments (1)

The Only Black Man on the Titanic

There was a Haitian man on the Titanic

Hatian family on the titanic

Hatian family on the titanic

There was a Haitian man on the ship!
His uncle was President of Haiti!
Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche was the only black man, a Haitian man, to perish in the Titanic; that’s after he saved his wife and kids. Laroche was born in Cap Haitian, Haiti , on May 26, 1889.

In the blockbuster film Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio’s role could have easily been played by a Black man and it would have been historically accurate. In fact, the life story of Haitian native Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche is far more intriguing than the movie’s lead character, but no one knew of his existence until recently.

The silence about the stranger-than-fiction life story of the Titanic’s only Black passenger astonishes noted Titanic historian Judith Geller, author of Titanic: Women and Children First, who said, “It is strange that nowhere in the copious 1912 press descriptions of the ship and the interviews with the survivors was the presence of a Black family among the passengers ever mentioned.”

The story of this interracial family was not known until 2000, three years after the movie’s release, when the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry and the Titanic Historical Society revealed the information as part of a Titanic exhibit.

Joseph Laroche was born into a powerful family. His uncle, Dessalines M. Cincinnatus Leconte, was the president of Haiti . When Joseph Phillippe Lemercier was fifteen, he left Haiti to study engineering in Beauvais , France . Several years later, he met Juliette Lafargue, the 22-year-old daughter of a local wine seller. The two eventually married.
Despite having an engineering degree, Joseph’s skin color left him unable to find employment in France . The Laroches decided to return toHaiti and booked second-class reservations on the Titanic. After the ship struck an iceberg, Joseph loaded his wife and children onto a lifeboat and he went down with the ship. His body was never recovered.
Shortly before Christmas of that year, Juliette Laroche gave birth to their son, Joseph Laroche Jr.
Juliette never remarried.


Posted in Black Britain, Caribbean HistoryComments (1)

Music, New Markets, African and Caribbean Biodiversity

I’m browsing the shelves of my office bookshelf. This is, in fact, the philosophy section at the local library, but i’m sure that many of the web community out there will be familiar with this analogy.

I’m also very excited at the impending Summer launch of the BBake entertainment service.
BBake at www.bbake.com will allow you to get the entertainment that you want, your way.

I have spent quite a bit of time discussing the  possibilities that this could yield, and I have found that many music industry officials get excited at the prospect of discovering a new pop band in Manchester, or the possibility of satisfying an underserved Chinese population in some part of London, however, when I suggest that this mechanism could also illuminate the UK appetite for more than 1 R ‘n’ B act per year, this is often seen as unrealistic.

I believe that mechanisms for supporting all talent are very important for society and for the economy and this includes African talent of all lineages.

Right now, as part of the Spring, pre-launch ramp-up, BBake is offering ‘Forest 1-Generation’ and ‘Forest Now’, two music-driven, sustainability services.

Forest 1-Generation allows you to buy music downloads from our music partner and for every purchase of music credit (from as little as $3) we will donate to African Biodiversity by supporting one of the world’s last lion reserves in Kenya.

Forest Now allows you to download free music from our music partner and we will donate to Caribbean Biodiversity by supporting Guyanese rainforest.

This is just the start of how BBake intends to nurture fun, talent and the environment.

I’ll be glad to keep the Black Presence community up-to-date with developments and I hope that Black Presence will contribute to BBake development.

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Taking the BNP seriously: Simplistic condemnation is not enough

British National Party

British National Party

What the BNPs modernisation reveals about modern Britain

The BNPs rebranding strategy reveals something very interesting about Britain, and white British people in particular. For years, by promoting racial nationalism, the BNP remained an utterly marginal organisation, largely attracting hardcore racists, skinheads, and social misfits. The fact that the BNP now feels the need to tell its activists to cover skinhead haircuts, to not make extreme statements, to avoid any violent rhetoric or acts, and to appear normal and respectable clearly demonstrates firstly that there are still plenty of extremists in the BNP, but also shows the extent to which Britain has changed – the vast majority of Britons want nothing to do with racist bigots and do not want to be associated with a party that represents hatred. It is also interesting that, as with other far-right groups, as well as with Islamist and pro-Jihadist organisations, the BNP is attempting to tap into the widespread feelings of alienation and atomisation felt by many in a society that is perceived to have poor social cohesion and to lack a sense of old fashioned community.

Read More>>

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Who was your favourite footballer and why?


We all have our favourites for one reason or another, maybe your favourite player was the first black player to play for your local team, or perhaps he was a prolific goalscorer with amazing skills.  Who was your Favourite footballer and why?

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