You can find here a selection of stories and research transcriptions relating to Black history. I have transcribed many newspaper articles and archival sources over the years but have not had the chance to carry out further research on many of the stories found within them. I wanted to share information on these sources or the transcripts for anyone who would like to read them or carry out work on these sources.


‘London Police’, The Bucks Herald, etc, 16 September 1837

'Union Hall – An elderly woman, named Harris, was charged with having assaulted James Cooper, a man of colour under the following circumstances :- Cooper stated, that although he was a black he was married to a white, and that he had a daughter called Phoebe, neither black nor white, but a mixture of both. (Laughter.) This daughter was now grown up to about 18 years old, and although he said it, she was a purty-faced a girl as would be seen in a tousand. – The Magistrate desired him to come to the assault without entering into a description of his daughter’s beauty. Cooper: Wait a bit your worship, I’ll come to the assault dis moment, but I must tell you all about my daughter Pheby first. Dis old woman (pointing to the defendant) tinks proper to be jealous of her, and dat is the reason dat I brought her before you. She tinks dat Pheby and her husband play tricks wid one anoder, and she come to my house, kick up a row, breakee de door, and tump me right slap bang in de face; and Pheby is here to prove it. – Phoebe was now called into the office, and although she is not such a beauty as she was described by her father, yet she is a very passable-looking young woman. By her account of the transaction, it appeared that the defendant called at her father’s house, and insisted on examining the rooms, saying that her husband was harboured there, and insinuating that he was carrying on an intrigue with her. Phoebe then declared that she did not even know the husband, but heard that he was an old man of 70 years of age, and that when they refused to allow the defendant to enter their house for such a purpose, she immediately banged on the door, struck her father in the face, and collected a mob whom she excited against the inmates of the house, by ejaculating that her husband was always talking about his darling black woman, and was in the habit of threatening to leave his lawful married wife, and go and live altogether with Pheby, the black. The Magistrate asked the defendant what proof she had that any improper intimacy existed between her husband and the young woman whom she designated a black woman. The defendant admitted that all the proof she could adduce was that of hearing her husband speak so frequently of Phoeby, both sleeping and waking, and even when he was a-bed, fast asleep, she has heard him talk about Phoebe. She added, that if her husband had not a love for Phoeby, he would not be always upbraiding her (the wife), and threatening to leave her. – Phoebe and her father both stood forward, and declared that there was no truth in what the old woman said, and that they were convinced she would annoy them again if she was not prevented by being held to bail. – The Magistrate said that the complaining parties had been exceedingly ill-used, and accordingly made the defendant find bail for her future good behaviour.'

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‘County Office, Saturday, April 2. (Before W. Heyrick, J. Grundy, and I. Hodgson, Esqrs., and the Rev. J.P. Newby)’, The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser, 9 April 1842

‘More “Fancy” Work! – Just as the business of the day was concluded, Mr. Goodyer brought in a well-made, smart-looking youth of colour, who acts as waiter to Mr. Richard Cain, the ex-pugilist publican, of Highcross-street, and charged him with being an intended principal in a prize-fight to “come off” on Monday, at Highcross or some other place in or near Warwick. The black acknowledged that he was to have fought, and was therefore required to give good security, himself in £20, and another in £20, to keep the peace for six months. This he did, and Mr. Cain became the other surety – at first qualifying his undertaking with the proviso that it should only be while the youth stopped with him; but the law not recognising such qualification, he became unconditional surety for his protegé – for such he was. He had only known the youth two or three months – he came to ask for charity, when Mr. C. “took him in,” and made him one of his waiters. The pugilistic aspirant, who was evidently “black without cross,” said he was a Londoner born – his mother was a black woman, and his father was the well-known man of colour in the Coldstream Guards who carried the bells, and is called “Jingling Johnny.” While the legal documents were being made out, Mr. Heyrick and the other magistrates reasoned with defendant on the folly of his intention, and made some depreciatory observations on the profession of pugilism : this roused Mr. Cain’s blood a little, and he told Mr. Heyrick that he could not see what harm there was in fighting for money; that he himself formerly “followed the profession” (although now he had something better to do); and he was sure that if it were more commonly practised, there would be less frequent recourse had to that unmanly weapon – the knife. However, his eloquence failed to convince their worships, and – strange to say – they could not allow his knowledge of the law to be beeter that Mr. Goodyer’s, who said he might as well take that opportunity of correcting a mistake very common among prize-fighters, viz – that the police had not the power to follow them wherever they went – they could do so, ay, even all over the kingdom; nor was there any peculiar privilege attached to an “extra-parochial place.” Mr. Cain looked rather blank at this intimation, and both he and his coloured protegé still more so, when told that even if the latter went up to London and fought for money there within the six months, the recognizances would be estreated! – Seriously: it is a matter of rejoicing that the jurisdiction of the police in these matters is thus widely-extended, for as much as the use of the knife is thus widely-extended, sure we are that the practice of fighting in cool blood for a stake will not put a stop to it – and it is more than matter of doubt whether prize-fighter as a class are men of generous courage. Great credit is due to Mr. Goodyer and his men for their activity in thus preventing an assemblage of all the “riff raff” and scum of Leicester and the neighbourhood.'

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'Police Court, Yesterday (Before Mr. J.S. Mansfield)', Daily Post (Liverpool), 14 May 1856

'Indignant Virtue. – An elderly woman of colour, named Elizabeth Ball, was brought up on remand for having struck Denis Spoiles, an elderly man, on the head with a poker. The prosecutor had suffered severely from the wound, but he had got out of danger. – Officer 690, who found the prosecutor, with his head bleeding, in Stanley-street, said he appeared to have had a glass or two. – The prisoner said: That man came to our house to see a boy who sells watches for him at the top of Lord-street [penny watches]. The boy was not in, and I told him so, when he called me very “immodest” names, and called me a black woman. I am the mother of children, and have been married twenty-seven years. My husband is now at Glasgow, and I have a letter from him in my pocket, and he has sent money to bring me. I get my living by plain sewing in his absence. I am well known, and never anything can be said against me. I confess I did hit him with a poker when he called me ugly names, and who could help it? I did not think I hit him hard. – Mr. Mansfield: If your character is so well established, why be so annoyed at a drunken man calling you ugly names? You might have killed the man by such a hard thump, in which case you might have been hung. As you have a good character, go away, and don’t strike any one again.'

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'A Coloured Man on a Jury', Lichfield Mercury, 8 January 1892

'Mr. Wynne Baxter held an inquest the other day at Poplar on the body of a man who had died suddenly. During the inquiry one of the jurors rose to his feet, and addressing Mr. Baxter, said : “Mr. Coroner, I protest against this man (pointing to a man of colour) sitting on the jury. He is not a native of this country, and has no right here. - The Coroner : I think it quite likely he will do justice to the case as well as any other man on the jury. (Hear, hear) – The Juror : Well I protest against his sitting as a juryman :- The Foreman of the Jury : He is under the British flag and can fulfil the duties of a British subject, and he has a perfect right to sit here. (Hear, hear) The Juror : No, he has not. I protest against it. - The Coroner (to the man of colour) : How long have you been in this country? - The Man of Colour: I have been in England 15 years, and was married in this country. I am not sitting here from choice, but of necessity (Hear, hear) – The Foreman: I appeal to my brother jurymen if our friend is to be insulted. (No, no.) - The Coroner : He shall not be insulted here. He has done his duty, which is more than another has. - The Jury having returned an appropriate verdict, the Coroner discharged them.'

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'Gloucester Police Court', The Citizen (Gloucester), 20 January 1893

'Ellen Dykes, a coloured woman, who gave an address at Wolverhampton, and described herself as a hawker, was charged with being drunk and disorderly. P.S. Whiting deposed that on Thursday night he saw the prisoner in Northgate-street drunk. She came up to witness on the Cross, and said she wanted to go to the police-station. She went down Westgate-street, and got such a crowd around her as to necessitate his removing her to the station. - The prisoner said that her husband had joined the Royal Horse Artillery, and that she had walked from Wolverhampton to Christchurch Barracks, near Bournemouth, to pick him out of the ranks. She was at present returning to Wolverhampton, and on Thursday she walked from Wotton-under-Edge to Gloucester. She was not drunk, but as weak as a kitten. - Upon promising to leave the city at once, the prisoner was discharged.'



‘Negro Student Named President of Council at London’s Royal School’, Courier (1950-1954), 18 December 1954

'London – Robert Richardson, a Negro war veteran from upper Manhattan, last week became the first American to be elected president of the Student Council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Richardson is entering his final year at the academy, which boasts such famed alumni as Charles Laughton and Vivian Leigh. He is a former Air Force lieutenant and was stationed in England during World War II. He will finish his studies next year.

In published interviews, Richardson stated that he will not stay in London unless he gets stage offers. “I may go back to the States if parts are offered or anywhere in the world.”

The academy, a private institution under the patronage of Queen Mother Elizabeth, has 350 students.'