“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots.”

Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887 – 1940)

Every year in October we celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH. Black history is with us every second, minute, hour, week, month and year. PANTHER NEWSLETTER’S CULTURE CORNER will attempt to enlighten you with what they never told you in your history class. Our story will be told right here – So enjoy the journey of clarification.


Blacks in Britain (Part Four) 

Not widely known – But true…


In 1713 the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht turned the tide for Britain. It was a formal asiento or the right to provide Spain and its colonies with slaves. In the port of Bristol, the South Sea Company was awarded the right to supply Spanish colonies with 4,800 African slaves yearly. After the Treaty of Utrecht, the British quickly became the world’s pre-eminent slavers, increasing its market share in the lucrative slave trade from one-quarter in 1791 to more than one-half by 1806.

In 1729, the concepts of “slave” and “slavery” were shrouded in legal ambiguities. Britons traditionally maintained that Africans were enslaved because they were heathens. Questions arose surrounding the status of baptised slaves: “…were they automatically free, or could Africans become enslaved Christians?”  The Crown’s Law Officers ruled that: “a slave did not become free either by coming to Britain or Ireland or being baptised.” Nevertheless, the belief that Christian baptism freed the enslaved remained popular and caused many contradictory court rulings. Most slaves responded to the legal confusion by simply freeing themselves – the numbers of runaway slaves increased throughout the eighteenth century.

In 1731 Job ben Solomon, an non-European educated African whose father had descended from Muslim royalty, was captured in Gambia and sold to a Maryland slave owner. In a letter written to his father in Arabic, ben Solomon pleaded for his release. A British general took the letter to Oxford for translation and was so impressed by the writer’s level of education, he ordered that ben Solomon should be taken to England. There, ben Solomon became the darling of Britain’s intellectual set, was ” ‘lionized and feted by polite society,’ “and the elite fought over which lucky ones would have ” ‘the unusual spectacle of [having] a scholarly African in their midst.’ ” 

Between 1738 and 1739 Liverpool’s slave-trading peaked when its vessels travelled 52 times to Africa. While Bristol transported 16,640 slaves in 47 sailings, by the 1750’s, Liverpool had overtaken it as the chief British slave-trading port. This switch eclipsed Bristol’s historical record as England’s slave-trading capital: from the eleventh century it had claimed that right, and as late as 1685, Bristol’s traders had traffiked in white slavery.




Rosa Parks is the woman who sparked off the movement to rid America of the racial segregation laws. Her refusal to give up her seat for a white person on a bus in the American south led to her arrest in 1955 and earned her the title “Mother of the Movement”; The Black Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King.

Aretha Franklin A.K.A The Queen of Soul, began her career as a gospel singer and then moved into the world of Soul Music. At the age of twelve, she made her first record and her greatest success came with the song ‘Respect’, which struck the right chord with The Black Civil Rights Movement in America during the 1960s.

Sade Adu, simply known as Sade, was born in Nigeria; Africa and raised on the east coast of England.  Her debut album in 1984, ‘Diamond Life’ sold over ten million copies in eighteen months and became the biggest selling debut album by any British female artist ever.

Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis Snr (July 1 1877 – November 26 1970), was America’s first black army General.  He began his military career with The Eighth U.S Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Spanish-American War. After rising through the ranks President D. Roosevelt promoted him to a One-Star Rank in 1940. He died at the age of 93.

Duke Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974), the African-American pianist, who was the greatest jazz composer and bandleader. One of the originators of big-band jazz, Ellington led his band for more than half a century, composed thousands of scores, and created one of the most distinctive ensemble sounds in all of Western music.

Samuel Kanyon Doe (1952 – 1990), was Liberia’s President from 1980 to 1990.  A dictator for ten years, he came to power at the age of 28 by killing the former leader William Tolbert. Liberia’s human rights record was poor during Doe’s reign. He was killed in 1990 during a civil war that broke out in the country.

Here ends your history lesson for this month.


Log on for more CULTURE CORNER – MAY 31 2011 and remember…

“Me only have one ambition, y’know.  I only have one thing I really like to see happen.  I like to see mankind live together – black, white, Chinese, everyone – that’s all.”

Bob Marley (1945 – 1981)


” ‘Til May – Everyting Bless “

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