Lost Black History: An Introduction
My experience when learning about Black history began in school; most of it seemed focused on slavery: we were bought, sold, raped and beaten. We weren’t people, we were...beasts of burden, workhorses to be treated like cattle.
Brainless, without a soul...
This is what I learnt about black history.
As I grew older, so did my inquisitive mind. How did slavery begin? Who were these people before they were taken? Where did they go when slavery ended and where did I fit into all of this?
This flurry of questions is what made me embark upon this journey of trying to discover my own family tree. I had always put this off because the Internet wasn’t really a thing when I started all those years ago (we don’t talk about my age!).
I would always bluster about not having the time (I still don't really), not knowing where to start. Surely when it came to slavery, identities would be lost? I mean, I would have to go back to Jamaica and do research on the ground, wouldn’t I?
And yes, all these things are extremely useful, but there is so much you can do sitting at your laptop from the comfort of your own home.
For example, look at this:
This is my maternal great grandfather’s death certificate. Now, this may not sound like a big deal for most, but, for me, this is one of my greatest finds. I did not know any of my grandparents; they had all passed away before I was born. My parents moved to the UK during the Windrush era so I didn’t have access to all those rich stories straight from '
yard' that could paint a picture of where I come from.
Essentially, I felt as if my lineage started with my parents, and that wasn't true.
I wanted to discover all those people that came before me, all those marriages, deaths, hardships and victories. I wanted to give life to all those people that were instrumental in bringing me to this point in time, even if they weren’t directly my ancestors (by which, I mean civil rights activist, philanthropists, warriors, surgeons etc).
I guess what I am hoping to achieve with my blog is to bring to light Lost Black History while also providing some useful tips on how to find your own family's story. I want to highlight the fact that black people existed throughout the ages and not just as beasts of burden – but as prominent figures in society.
Now cast your eyes back to the black and white group photo at the top. Go into any Caribbean household and you'll be sure to find a similar one. It captures the very essence of a generation steeped in pride, with a hard-working determination to better themselves, their families and their country...Great Britain.
How do I know this?
Because this isn't a stock photo.
At the back behind the baby you will find a tall handsome man, he has the cheekiest looking grin I have ever seen. His name was Victor George Knight...my father.
My mother stands at the front to the left. Pristine handbag proudly on display with her floral dress perfectly pressed.
This is the christening of a new baby. From this picture you would think the celebration would then go on to be a low key formal affair... you would think ;)
Now, I'm no historian and just like you – I'm learning. If you find anything to be factually incorrect or have valuable information to contribute – hit me up! I'd love to expand on my knowledge and will update my blog with any additional useful information where necessary.
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