Tag Archive | "History"

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




Posted in Black History Month UK, Black Sports StarsComments (0)

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)


Posted in Black History Month UKComments (0)

Roots of the Steelband Rhythm Section

The Steelband was developed from the Tamboo Bamboo bands of Trinidad, players would hollow out Bamboo sticks and cut them to variouslengths to create a variety of different pitches, and these were beaten on the ground to pulsating percussive rhythms.

Rhythm section of Tamboo bamboo band

Many of the bands would parade the streets at Carnival time. These bands had names like dead end kids who eventually changed to Gay Desperadoes steelband, Red Army -became Renigades, Hell Yard band became Trinidad all Stars, to mention few,

.Veteran Doulble second player from Trinidad All Stars displays Hell Yard T Shirt

The bands would also use garbage cans,biscuit drums, car break hubs, and various metal objects to produce sounds, hence the birth of the Steelpan as we know it today. Steelbands still take a lot of pride in insuring they have a good Rhythm section made up of seasoned players

part of Witco Despradoes Rhythm secction

Therhythmsection or ( engine room ) of the band is made up of various instruments that all work together to keep the pulse and timingof the band.

Iron Man

The Drummer certainly has a tremendous Job keeping the timing for the band filling in with drum roles to embellish melodies and arrangements.

Ace performace Little Bit Despradoes Drummer

A cowbell is normally played like a metronome to help enforce the consistence of the beat. Other instruments like Conga’s and Tambourine Scratchers are also used. Each player puts there full heart and soul to playing there instrument, Every instrument is considered as essential to making a band sound good.

Sctratcher man plays from the soul

The Steel bands & percussion bands play a leading musical outlet for people within the community. Men Woman and Children all take part within the bands.

Desperadoes Shack Shack player

Listen to Desperadoes Rhythm section Rehearsal 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAPG39SPLLs

Many Rhythm bands still do regular performance at Carnival. To hear these bands live you can’t help but dancing to the pulsating beats, the bands are very large and powerful.

Chatham Rhythm section band

The early Steelbands carried the pans on straps around thier necks.With a great lot of attention focused on the rhythmic arrangements of the pans combined with catchy melodies creates auniquesound to the single pan bands. Up to date competitions are still held at Carnival time for the single pan bands

Traditional Pan round neck band

For more information on theSteelbands, performance & educational workshops please visit


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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



Posted in Black History Month UK, Black SoldiersComments (0)

Croydon Celebrates Black History

Croydon Black History Site

Here at Black Presence we are always glad to receive information about black History Month Events.  As Black History month approaches (October in the U.K)

Councils and organisations are starting to send in their information. We will relay it to you as we get it.


Croydon Celebrates Black History by:

  • remembering people, places and events from the African Diaspora that have made an historical impact;


  • profiling the traditions of African and Caribbean communities through stories, festivals, crafts, dance and costumes to enhance cultural understanding and appreciation;


  • documenting or preserving the heritage of people of African or Caribbean descent, especially local history, to pass on to future generations


There are many fantastic events and activities to choose from over the up coming months – be inspired, explore and enjoy!



Download their Brochure of Events

PDF: Croydon Listings with Photos and info

Microsoft Word: Basic Croydon Listings 2010

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

Ignatius Sancho: African Man of Letters

Ignatius Sancho

Portrait of Ignatius Sancho by Gainsborough 1768

Ignatius Sancho was the first African prose writer whose work was published in England. Ignatius Sancho was the first African prose writer whose work was published in England.

A former slave and renowned shopkeeper, Ignatius Sancho came to England at the age of two, it was 1731. His first recollections were of growing up in Greenwhich, London, where he was working as a child slave.

After pursuading the Montagu family to employ him as their butler. The Duke of Montague made him presents of books to cultivate the mind of a knowledge hungry Sancho. Later he went to serve the Dukes Widow at her home.

Sancho was a great friend of the actor Garrick. It was at Garrick’s suggestion that Sancho attempted acting the black roles of Othello and Orinooko, however he was thwarted by his speech impediment.

After his service as a Butler, Sancho retired to run his Grocers shop on Charles Street in Westminster.  It was from here that Sancho wrote his famous letters, and received his correspondents who included Garrick, The Montagues, the sculptor Nollekins and the writer Laurence Sterne.  Whilst hi letters cover a wide range of topics he is highly critical of what he sees as the corruption of ‘natives’. (see Letter to Jack Wingrave)

Amongst his achievements, Ignatius Sancho was almost certainly the model for a character ‘Shina Cambo’ in the 1790 novel ‘Memoirs and opinions of Mr Blenfield’. This novel is perhaps the first instance in English Literature where white men visit the home of a Black family as equals and when black people are shown as integrated into White English Society. Sancho also enjoyed composing music.

Ignatius Sancho died in 1780, two years after his death his Letters were published. They attracted over 1,200 subscibers, the highest subscription of any author of his time for 70 years. He was also painted by Gainsborough and it is also plausible that he was depicted in Hogarths’ Taste of the high Life 1742.

Ignatius Sancho depicted in Hogarth's Taste of the High Life

Ignatius Sancho depicted in Hogarth’s Taste of the High Life

Further reading:

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Oak Bluffs – Summer's Home For Elite Blacks

Home of the black elites

Home of the black elites

Washington Post Staff Writer DeNeen L. Brown wrote an interesting? August 20, 2009 About how Americas Elite blacks are flocking to Martha’s Vineyard to take their annual holidays.

Over the 4 page web article. Brown highlights the fact that this isn’t a new phenomenon, but a generational thing. Black families have been attracted to the area for well over 100 years. The first African Americans to visit the area were attracted by the areas safeness.

The town was once a Methodist retreat where anti-racism sermons were preached.? Some of the first African Americans? to visit the area came as servants to wealthy white families. Others worked in the hotels. These early pioneers were later followed by, elite blacks from New York, Boston and Washington retreated here for summer vacations

Further down the road is West’s cottage, and farther down the road is Shearer Cottage, an inn built by a Charles Shearer, the son of a slave and a slave master. Shearer built the inn to provide lodging for blacks during segregation. Famous guests included singers Paul Robeson, Ethel Waters and Lillian Evanti; and composer Harry T. Burleigh as well as Madame CJ Walker, an early self-made millionaire . More recent visitors and home owners include Henry Louis Gates Jnr, Spike Lee and Valerie Jarrett.

It’s all about class and money. American high flyers from the Black middle classes are acutely aware of their position in the social strata. Money is known and respected; though not necessarily flaunted. The Area has been described as “The black Hamptons”.

Despite the emphasis on class and regular “summering”, there is a group in Marthas Vineyard that doesn’t let class and breeding affect your membership. That is the early morning swimming group, “The polar Bears”. The group takes the name, somewhat ironically because of the cold temperature of the sea in the early morning.

Related Links

Posted in African American HistoryComments (0)

High Flying, 15-Year-Old Girl Pilots a Plane Coast to Coast

Kimberly Anyadike

Kimberly Anyadike

This July, 15-year-old Kimberly Anyadike finished a record-breaking flight across the country, becoming what is believed to be the youngest African-American female to pilot an airplane from coast to coast. The adventurous teenager flew from Compton Woodley Airport in Compton, CA, to Newport News, VA ,and back, making thirteen stops along the way. Her flight companions were an adult safety pilot and Levi Thornhill, an 87-year-old World War II veteran who flew with the Tuskegee Airmen, an all African-American combat unit in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Part of the reason for Anyadike’s voyage was to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, dozens of whom she met throughout the journey.

Anyadike learned to fly both an airplane and a helicopter at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton in an after-school program that offers aviation lessons to underprivileged and at-risk youth. The museum owns the plane she flew on this historical trip.

It was Anyadike’s idea to fly cross-country. She knew it would take tremendous preparation, but she felt strongly that she could do it. The Tuskegee Airmen served as further motivation for the high-flying teen.

“They left such a great legacy,” she said. “I had big shoes to fill. All they wanted to do was to be patriots for this country. They were told no, that they were stupid, that they didn’t have cognitive development to fly planes. They didn’t listen. They just did what they wanted to do.”‘

Robin Petgrave, the aeronautical museum’s founder tried to temper Anyadike’s enthusiasm. “I told her it was going to be a daunting task but she just said, ‘Put it on. I got big shoulders.’ “

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

Jamaican Easter Traditions Steeped In Culture and History

KINGSTON, Jamaica – While American families hide colored eggs and eat chocolate bunnies, Jamaica’s tradition of eating Easter bun and cheese, fortune telling and Carnival are the ways this island celebrates this holiday period.


Easter egg predictions

One of Jamaica’s long established practices is the setting of an egg to predict one’s future. It is said if you place an egg white in a container of water on Holy Thursday night by Good Friday you will see your future. This is determined by the pattern which was formed by the coagulating egg white. If the shape formed in the container is a ship or aircraft, it means travel.

The custom of offering Easter eggs, either chocolate or hard-boiled and colored, dates back well beyond the early years of Christianity to the most ancient pagan traditions. In fact, many cultures have also put their own twist to the egg story.

Easter bun

In Jamaica, this is the time of year when people tend to eat bun and cheese in abundance. Though it is not clear how the cheese aspect of the tradition started, bun eating has been around for centuries. The popular Jamaican Easter bun, a tropical version of the English hot cross bun is generally eaten with processed cheddar cheese. Supermarket shelves are piled high with these sweet loaves, spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, and bursting with raisins, currants and other dried fruit. For those interested in making their own bun, see recipe below.

Read More>>

Source: SouthFloridaCaribbeanNews.com



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Obama, race, reality and reconciliation

President Obama is beset with critics punching below the belt

President Obama is beset with critics punching below the belt

Two months into the administration of the first African-American president, Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press takes a look today at some of the “old racial stereotypes and Internet-fueled falsehoods” about President Barack Obama that have “flourished.”

There was that New York Post cartoon portraying the president as a monkey, that California mayor resigning after circulating a picture of watermelons on the White House lawn, the “magic mulatto” email making the rounds of the Net. And there are those relentless questions about Obama’s own citizenship and religion.

“Disproved and disputed claims about his religion and citizenship, namely untruths that Obama is a Muslim and isn’t U.S.-born, zip across chat rooms and dominate the blogosphere,” Sidoti writes. “Fringe critics largely are responsible for perpetuating the lies, but even elected officials have raised them.”

The achievement of one man in breaking the nation’s racial barriers has not “entirely changed the dynamic of a country founded by slave owners,” she suggests.

“”There’s certainly no lessening of racially charged barbs aimed at the president,” says Anita L. Allen, a University of Pennsylvania law school professor who has studied race relations for years. “In fact there may be more, some vicious and cruel by his enemies and some distasteful and playful by his friends.”

Obama, for his part, maintains that all the celebration of the history that he made with his election “lasted about a day,”’ with his inauguration, and that crisis-consumed Americans will judge him by an entirely different standard.

Read the full Article>>

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