The story of Lorraine Owen (née Gittens)
In February we released a fascinating feature about the Gittens family. Shortly after, we were approached by Lorraine Owen (née Gittens) who gave us further information about her family. During an oral history interview, she spoke about the happiest memories of her childhood and reminisced about each member of her family. This personal and heartfelt piece demonstrates the closeness of the Gittens family and the love they had for one another.
Read Lorraine’s story.
A date for your diary! Tomorrow (Saturday 5 May) is the official opening day of our exhibition at the East Riding Treasure House in Beverley. Read our latest blog post to find out about the events that we are hosting and how you can get involved.
Head to the blog.
On Monday we released Audrey Dewjee’s fantastic story about Alford Gardner, one of the 5,400 West Indian volunteers who joined the RAF as ground crew during the Second World War. Gardner did his basic training at Filey and was stationed there for around six months before being posted to different parts of the country. Although Gardner returned to Jamaica after the war ended, he returned to Britain with his brother on board the famous Empire Windrush and carved out a life for himself in Leeds.
Read Alford Gardner’s story.
Yesterday we released a story about Somalian Mahmood Mattan, who was wrongly convicted for murdering Lily Volpert in Cardiff on 6 March 1952. He was sentenced to hang and was executed six months later, on 3 September. In 1998, after a long campaign by his wife Laura and their three children, Mattan’s conviction was quashed and it was acknowledged that he was not guilty for the crime that had cost him his life.
Read Mahmood Mattan’s story.
Black entertainers at the Tivoli
On Monday we released a piece about Black entertainers at the Tivoli Theatre. Through extensive research, we have been able to trace some of the actors, musicians, dancers and comedians who performed at the popular local theatre between its opening in 1912 and closure in 1954. Among the most famous and well received were African American entertainers Layton and Johnstone.
Find out who else performed at the Tivoli Theatre in the full article.
The deaths of sailors of African descent
This week’s blog post explores the dangers of working in the maritime sphere and reveals the names of men of African descent, with a connection to this region, whom tragically perished. Sadly, the sailors identified in this piece typically drowned as a result of war, bad weather or due to tragic accidents.
Read our latest blog post.
Black seamen at Scarborough, 1748-1765
After a two week break over Easter, we returned on Monday with a fascinating, early piece about sailors of African descent in Scarborough by Charles R. Foy, Associate Professor in Early American & Atlantic History at Eastern Illinois University. Through extensive work researching ship musters, Foy has uncovered information on several Black seafarers who had a connection to Scarborough in the mid-eighteenth century and one, Robert Staves who lived in the town during this period.
Find out about the lives of these men in the full article.
Samuel Morgan Smith
Samuel Morgan Smith was a famous African American actor who moved across the Atlantic to pursue his career on stage. He toured across Britain throughout the mid nineteenth century, performing in East Yorkshire in the late 1860s and mid-1870s. In 1875, Samuel Morgan Smith and his wife amused audiences at Goole with their 'Unique Drawing Room Entertainment'.
Read the feature on Samuel Morgan Smith.
Beverley Prevatt Goldstein
On Monday we released a story about Beverley Prevatt Goldstein, a Trinidadian woman who lived in the Hull and East Yorkshire area. Beverley came to Britain with her two sisters to undertake further education in the early 1960s. She excelled at school and in 1968 was one of the first Black women to enrol at Oxford University from a mainstream British school. In 1974, Beverley and her husband moved to Hull, where she worked as a social worker. During her time in this region, Beverley was also a member of the local Harmony group.
Read Beverley’s story.
Easter break and exhibition countdown
This week’s blog post gives information about our forthcoming exhibition at the East Riding Treasure House which will run from 5 May to 30 June 2018. It also contains details on the events that we will be running during our exhibition period, including the speakers for our study day which will be held on Saturday 12 May 2018.
Read our latest blog post.
We're giving you time to catch-up on your reading over the Easter break, so please explore the stories archive, oral histories and more on our revamped website. Our thanks goes to our web manager Thomas Burrows.
Our next release will be 9 April.
On Monday we released a story about the Ghanaian politician and businessman, John Kufuor. Between 2001 and 2009, as the President of Ghana, Kufuor implemented economic and social policies which led to important reforms in his home country. His link to Hull is through the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) which he officially opened in 2006.
Read our feature on John Kufuor.
Carlos Lamintine Trower: The African Blondin
Yesterday we published a blog post by guest writer Ron Howard on the 'The African Blondin' Carlos Trower. Ron contacted us after we released a story on Trower last November and wanted to share his triumphs and struggles of tracing the talented tightrope artist, who was also his Great Grandfather.
Read Ron's blog post.
The Wyng family
In January we released a blog post entitled ‘A West African Chief in Hull’ about Ben Simmons who married Margaret Wyng at St Nicholas Church, Hessle Common in September 1929. As a result of this post, Audrey Dewjee began researching Margaret Wyng to learn more about her wider family.
Margaret’s father James Emmanuel Wyng was an African American seaman from Boston Massachusetts who married Margaret Elizabeth Catchpole in Great Yarmouth in 1897 before settling into Hull at the turn of the century. Margaret together with two of her three siblings made entertainment their chosen careers.
Read the interesting story of the Wyng family.
Cricket, lovely cricket
Yesterday we released a blog post about cricketers of African descent who played at The Circle, Anlaby Road, a ground now more familiarly known as the KCOM stadium home to Hull City and Hull FC. This blog was written by John Rodgers and edited by Adrian Burrows.
Read our cricket blog post.
On Monday we released a story about cultural and political activist, Ansel Wong. The Trinidadian left the Caribbean to study English and American studies at the University of Hull between 1965 and 1968. Since leaving Hull he has played a vital role in transcending racial boundaries and highlighting Caribbean culture across Britain. Wong has held influential positions in the education and arts sector where he has tirelessly promoted equality and diversity.
Read Ansel Wong's story.
"Uncle Tom" picture blog update and calls for information
Our latest blog post predominantly focuses on the life of Josiah Henson, who is believed to have been the inspiration for the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. In July last year, we released a picture blog which showcased a sepia photograph of a Black gentleman with the caption "Uncle Tom" printed at the bottom (read the original blog here). We have now found more out about this image but are we any clearer as to whether the gentleman visited Hull or East Yorkshire?
We have also asked readers for help to find out more information on Shirley Bassey’s visits to Hull and East Yorkshire as well as the African American airmen based in Holme-on-Spalding Moor in the 1950s.
Read Thursday's blog post.
Suicide: People of African descent and the act of suicide in Hull
Monday's new story analyses people with African heritage who attempted or committed suicide in Hull in the twentieth century. It focuses on the forgotten histories of three men: Emmanuel Anderson; Edward Cocoa and James Bailey while analysing community and court responses to self-murder before the passing of the Suicide Act in 1961.
Read our story on suicide in Hull.
James Clinton Jordan
Our second story this week focused on African American James Clinton Jordan. In the 1950s, Holme-on-Spalding Moor was used as a base for the United States Air Force and some serving men travelled to Hull to enjoy the city when they had free time. On 4 May 1956, Jordan stabbed Walter Beaumont in the Blue Bird Café, and the events that followed changed the course of legal history.
Read the story of James Clinton Jordan.
Seaside Resorts: Part Two - Bridlington and Filey
This week we have released a story which charts Black presence in Bridlington and Filey. Our guest writer Audrey Dewjee has demonstrated through entertainers, visitors, local characters and wonderful pictures that two of the region’s most popular seaside resorts have been regularly frequented by people of African descent.
Read about Bridlington and Filey’s Black history.
Hull Daily Mail's Flashback series
Yesterday blog post focuses on photographs we have come across in the Hull Daily Mail Flashback series that document people of African descent in the region through the decades. Some of them are of people who have engaged with our project such as David Gambe, Clive Sullivan and Alex Dyer while other pictures we would love to know more about.
Read our latest blog post.
Dusé Mohamed Ali
We're proud to learn that the African Stories project was the inspiration for the naming of Dusé Mohamed Ali as one of the 100 people honoured in Hull in the Lord Mayor's Centenary plaque scheme. This will honour people who have made an impact within their field locally, nationally and internationally.
See footage of Gifty Burrows speaking on ITV Calendar this week on our Project in the media page.
Many thanks to Les Smith of Beverley FM for broadcasting our 'Call for Information' on 12 February, and providing early notice of our forthcoming exhibition at Beverley Treasure House from 5 May to 30 June.
See our Project in the media page for Les' broadcast.
Follow the project on social media.