On Friday 7th October at 2pm, Dr Ray Costello will be giving a talk at the Anthony Walker Education Centre at the International Slavery Museum, focusing on his recently published book, 'Black Tommies: British Soldiers of African Descent in the First World War'. Ray tells us more ahead of the free talk, part of our Black History Month event series, which we hope you can join:
"This is the first book dedicated to the part played by Black soldiers in the British regular army, rather than colonial units, during the First World War.
"This forgotten group of participants in the First World War are those Black Britons, already resident in the British Isles at the outbreak of hostilities, who enlisted to fight for King and Country. Not least were the locally born Black communities in Britain’s docklands districts, of several generations’ standing in some cases, also answering the nation’s need.
"Members of the Liverpool Black community, the oldest in Europe in terms of continuous presence, are able to trace their roots from the eighteenth century and have fought in all of Britain’s wars throughout the last two centuries. In this talk, the names of some of those who served will be recognised today in the modern Liverpool Black Community.
"If Black British colonial troops have been long ignored by historians, the existence of any narrative around Black British soldiers enlisting in the United Kingdom is equally unknown, even in military circles. Although Black colonial overseas troops fighting for Britain are only now slipping into books and media, ‘under the radar’, so to speak, ‘home-grown’ and UK-domiciled Black soldiers are still largely unrecognised and deserve to be more widely popularised".