What was life like for the ‘average’ black person in England before the 20th century? Most were quietly getting on with their lives, seeking employment, getting married and raising families. It takes a lot of work to uncover their life histories because there was no legal discrimination against these individuals. Glimpses into their lives can be found buried in The National Archives’ vast collection, which reveals unexpected stories. Kathy Chater‘s talk challenges some commonly held assumptions that have been made about the lives of black Britons during the period of the British slave trade.
Dr Kathleen Chater is an independent historian and writer. Her doctoral thesis is published as Untold Histories: Black people in England and Wales during the period of the British slave trade, c1660-1807. She came to the history of Black British people through genealogy and has written books and articles on this subject. This talk was part of our diversity week event in November, highlighting the diversity of The National Archives’ collection.