Politics and Protest

John Archer was the first person of African descent to hold civic office in London.

Dr Allan Glaisyer Minns was the first person of colour to become mayor in the UK. He was was elected mayor of the borough of Thetford, Norfolk in 1904.

Ellen and William Craft William was a cabinet-maker and Ellen a seamstress. The couple spent a great deal of their time at public meetings campaigning against slavery. In 1860 they published an account of their escape Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.

William Cuffey prominent Chartist leader, the first mass political movement of the British working class.

Women Chartists There are records showing that women were involved in the movement and this suggests that Mrs Cuffey was also involved:

‘…I was a journeyman,
a tailor black and free;
and my wife went out and chaired about,
and my name’s the bold Cuffee’

Toussaint L’Ouverture “The Spartacus…whose destiny it was to avenge the wrongs committed on his race.” Comte de Lavaux the French governor-general of Saint Domingue, describing Toussaint.

W E B Du Bois “I believe in the Negro Race: in the beauty of its genius, the sweetness of its soul, and its strength in that meekness which shall yet inherit this turbulent earth”

William Davidson Cato Street revolution co-conspirator.

The Underground Railroad Built in the early 19th century, the Underground Railroad was a series of routes and safe houses used by African slaves to escape to Free states and Canada.

Harriet Tubman When the American Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 enslaved people.

Fredrick Douglass American abolitionist, orator, and writer, who escaped slavery and urged other blacks to do likewise before and during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Rosa Louise Parks In a celebrated incident in 1955 she was arrested for violating segregation laws when she sat at the front of the bus and refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. This resulted in a boycott of the bus system by blacks, with Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the movement.

Asa Phillip Randolph developed his distinctive form of civil rights activism, which emphasized the importance of collective action as a way for black people to gain legal and economic equality. 

Ralph Bunche In 1950 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an individual who temporarily brought an end to the bitter conflict between the Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. The man who received the award was not an Arab or Jew but a black American named Ralph Bunche.

Richard Theodore Greener The first African American to graduate from Harvard University, US.

Denmark Vesey “Vesey’s example must be regarded as one of the most courageous ever to threaten the racist foundations of America.,” said Sterling Stuckey.

Dadabhai Naoroji was elected in 1892 to represent the constituents of Finsbury Park, London, he was the first elected ethnic minority MP in Britain.

Sojourner Truth The voice told her “to travel up and down the land showing people their sins and being a sign unto them.” When Sojourner asked the Lord for a second name, she said he gave the name “Truth” because she was to tell everyone the truth about slavery.  For nearly twenty years she travelled across the country speaking out on slavery and women’s rights.

Robert Wedderburn Anti-slavery lobbyist, author and campaigner for freedom of speech.

Henry Sylvester Williams Organiser of the world’s first ever pan-African conference in 1906

Marcus Garvey’s Million Man March In 1921 the biggest rally of black people the world had ever seen took place.

Bill Morris General Secretary, Transport and General Workers Union from 1992 to 2003.

Malcolm X Civil Rights Leader

Opal Tometi Co-founder of Black Lives Matter