African Stories in Hull & East Yorkshire Project Updates
Black Lion Tamers in Hull and East Yorkshire
Lion tamers were a significant part of the travelling Menagerie show in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first Black lion tamer to appear in the Hull and East Yorkshire area was Martini Maccomo, who performed with Manders' Royal Menagerie in Beverley as early as 1860.
To read about Maccomo and other lion tamers of African descent who visited this region please click here.
The eighth image in our Picture Blog series shows Haircut 100 star, Blair Cunningham holding a ring buoy labelled Lincoln Castle- Grimsby which was reportedly taken in Hull in 1981.
To see the image and read more about the famous drummer click here
Kenny Fox: The Story of My African Connection
On Tuesday, we released a personal history written by Kenny Fox. In this fascinating piece, Kenny identifies his family ties with slavery, shares his memories of growing up in St Kitts, details his experience of moving from the West Indies to Derby at the age of 10 and explains why he settled in Beverley in 1990.
To read Kenny’s story click here.
Picture Blog #7: Sudanese Officials in Filey, 1960
Our seventh Picture Blog features images found in the Crimlisk Fisher Archive of Sudanese officials visiting Filey in 1960.
To see these images, click here.
African American Soldiers
This week we have released two fantastic pieces on the African American soldiers stationed in East Yorkshire during World War II. Guest writer Ed Hardiman has demonstrated how racial segregation and the William Wilberforce legacy shaped the experiences of Black GIs in the region, while Audrey Dewjee has written a biographical piece on African American soldier, Denis J. Mouton.
Click here to read about the experiences of African American soldiers in Hull and East Yorkshire during WWII.
To read Denris J. Mouton’s story click here
Don’t forget we have already published a piece on African American soldier Wylie Young by Jane Bielby. Click here to read his story.
Picture Blog #6: West African As Missionary’s Best Man
The sixth image in our picture blog series is of Casely Manasseh Obuobisa, who was best man at the wedding of Dorothy Murphy and, missionary from the Gold Coast, Reverend Ernest Sawyer in 1936. View this image here. You can also take a look at more images in our Picture Gallery here.
On 16 July Mike Greenwood is taking part in the Hatfield Triathlon to raise money for our exhibition which opens at the Hull History Centre on 26 September 2017. If you are feeling generous and would like to make a donation, please click here.
Prize fighters of African descent have been present in Hull and East Yorkshire from the early twentieth century. They appeared at local fairs, sporting venues and entertainment events in Hull, Bridlington, Withernsea, Beverley, Scarborough and Cottingham. While some Black boxers travelled across the Atlantic to fight in local arenas, others such as Charlie Cooper and Curtis Woodhouse were born in the region.
Read the story of Black Boxers in Hull and East Yorkshire here
Picture Blog #5: A visit to the William Wilberforce Monument, 1982
The fifth image in our picture blog series shows Theo Brown-Dawson and Victor Jones from Sierra Leone placing African coins at the William Wilberforce Monument in May 1982. View this image here.
You can also take a look at more images in our Picture Gallery here.
Jon is of mixed heritage and was raised by his English mother, Angela Gilbey, with the help of his maternal family in Hull. He grew up never being told much about his father, Tony Lewis, until at the age of 13 years, long kept secrets started to be revealed. Jon’s research into his father’s family has recently shed new light on his African American heritage and has revealed a possible link to slavery.
To read Jon’s fascinating story click here
Contemporary Voices: Oral history by Gifty Burrows
Gifty talks about her childhood leaving Ghana as a 7-year-old girl with her younger brother without being able to speak English. Her upbringing in Huddersfield and Bury in an exclusively white neighbourhood brought her face to face with insidious racism. She describes how her self-confidence grew out of necessity whilst graduating as a nurse in Leeds. After meeting her husband whilst students at university she mentions the difficulties experienced in embarking on a mixed-marriage and the challenges of staying together whilst raising 3 children in a rural East Yorkshire market town. Her drive to challenge the stereotypes of blackness in all forms of life has brought her to this point where the African Stories project is helping to bring history of people of African descent to a wider audience.
Listen to Gifty's interview here.
On Tuesday we released a story about Jamaican activist and writer, Una Marson, who travelled to Hull in July 1933 with Dr Harold Moody for the Wilberforce Centenary Celebrations. To read this fantastic piece by our guest contributor, Lauren Eglen click here
Carving of an emancipated slave by Samuel Samei Marco, 1993
The fourth set of images in our Picture Blog series show an oak carved statue of an emancipated slave by Samuel Samei Marco. The statue can be viewed today in Wilberforce House.
Click here to go to our Picture Gallery or read about these fantastic photographs here.
Dr Harold Moody
On Tuesday, we released Doctor Harold Moody’s story. His fight for racial equality in Britain makes him one of the most famous people of African descent to have visited Hull and East Yorkshire in the early twentieth century. He was invited to speak at the William Wilberforce Centenary celebrations in July 1933 and returned during the Second World War to visit churches in the region, as the chairman of the London Missionary Society.
To read Harold Moody’s story click here
Cecilia Anim CBE
In 1972 Cecilia Anim relocated to Hull from Ghana to begin her career as a nurse. She studied and worked in the region’s hospitals for several years before moving to London. Her outstanding contribution to the healthcare sector has been acknowledged by several prestigious awards including an MBE.
To read Cecilia Anim’s story click here
We would love to further demonstrate the positive impact that professionals of African descent had on the health sector in Hull and East Yorkshire. If you know anybody who trained or worked in the region, please click here to contact us.
The Mainprize/Wheeler family
On Tuesday, we released a story written by Hilda Mainprize about her family. Hilda’s mother, Nigerian Aina Okolo met, Hull-born seaman George Albert Mainprize in her home town in the late 1950s. She emigrated to the region with her husband and their three children in November 1964. Aina had another child with George when she arrived in Hull and when the pair separated she made further additions to her family with partner Harry Wheeler. Today there are 30 members of her immediate family.
Read the Mainprize/Wheeler story here.
Our latest blog post highlights the sacrifices made by men and women of African descent during World War Two. It gives information about the deaths of four Black servicemen who were linked to East Yorkshire. Two of these men died of illnesses which were contracted during training at Filey, while the other two were killed in flying accidents. Click here for more information.
Our EXHIBITION Countdown!
Tomorrow marks the four-month countdown to our exhibition at the Hull History Centre. To celebrate we are releasing our exhibition poster. See our EVENTS page for further details.
The West Indian Ground Crew
On Tuesday, we released the often-forgotten story of the West Indian recruits based at RAF Hunmanby Moor, Filey. In 1944, approximately 4,000 men from the Caribbean journeyed across the Atlantic to help the war effort. After they disembarked in Britain, they were taken to East Yorkshire to complete their basic training, before being moved to various RAF bases to carry out essential work. Although most of these men were repatriated after the Second World War, a small proportion started a new life in Britain.
Click here to read the story of the West Indian Ground Crew
Click here for information on individual West Indian Recruits
Contemporary Voices: Oral history by David Watson
David Watson was born into a farming family in Jamaica. He came to visit his brother in Croydon and stayed, working initially as a chef before joining the Forces which led him to come to Leconfield as an Army Transport trainee. During his time in the forces, he served in Iraq and Kuwait. Hull has been his base since 2002 having met his wife on a night out at LAs Nightclub and subsequently raising five children here. He describes himself as having taken the long way around to become an electrician, realising his childhood ambition by starting his own electrical business and proving his teachers wrong in doing so.
The Ema Family History
Asuquo ‘Zook’ Ema is of dual Nigerian and English heritage from parents who met at Hull University. His early years were remarkable as he experienced the trauma of being caught up in the Biafran war and losing his father in the confusion. This story informs about the early years of his life as retold by his mother Wendy Ema who brought up her three children alone surviving adversity and profound loss.
*In case you missed it, we released Asuquo ‘Zook’ Ema’s oral history in the first week of April (listen to it HERE).
Lew Leslie’s Blackbird Theatre Group
The third image released as part of our new picture blog series is of Lew Leslie’s Blackbird Theatre Group. The photograph shows the African American troupe laying a wreath at the William Wilberforce monument in February 1937. Click HERE to see the image on our Picture Gallery and read all about this fantastic black and white picture on the blog post HERE
Discover the latest Project updates here!