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The History Of The Oldest Black Community In Europe

by NewsOne

Liverpool is home to England’s oldest Black community. Dating back to the city’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade between the 17th and 19th centuries, African and Afro-Caribbean individuals were brought to Liverpool as enslaved people, enduring unimaginable hardships and contributing to the city’s economic prosperity through their labor, according to Echoes of Liverpool.

The Liverpool Museum noted that Liverpool ships embarked on voyages to West Africa, where they engaged in the harrowing trade of exchanging goods for enslaved Africans, who endured brutal conditions during their forced transport across the Atlantic and subsequent sale. Following this horrific chapter, the slave ships returned to Britain, laden with commodities such as sugar, cotton, and tobacco cultivated on plantations by enslaved Africans. Leaders of this inhumane trade propagated racist ideologies to justify their actions, leaving behind a legacy of racism that continues to impact individuals in Liverpool to this day.

Many enslaved Black people were stationed for labor and employed in the vicinity of the docks, situated in Toxteth in the southern region of the city. While quantifying the exact size of Liverpool’s historical Black population proves challenging, parish records obtained by Echoes of Liverpool indicate that Black individuals were being documented as residents near Toxteth as early as the 1700s. One notable registry entry features a Black individual named Peter Salisbury, originally from Baltimore, Maryland, registering to settle in the city.

Per the Liverpool Museum, members of Liverpool’s Black community had a significant seafaring heritage. However, their proximity to the docks wasn’t always met with acceptance. Enduring discrimination and adversity daily, they nonetheless persevered with resilience and faith, with some ultimately triumphing over the obstacles they faced. Dick Benson, a well-known Black carter in Liverpool,…

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