ABOUT

Black Archives South is a comprehensive photo, film, audio and resource library of Black people in South of England: freely available for all including, young people, students, academics, and enthusiasts in Southampton and beyond.

The project will create a permanent and impactful repository of information, materials, and artefacts that are dedicated to telling the history of Black people with regards to the city of Southampton covering, remarkably, at least five hundred years. By raising awareness, appreciation and celebration of the long-term presence and immense contribution of Black residents and visitors to the south of England, we educate contemporary society about the origins, heritage, cultures, professions and impacts of the local Black community. We also aim to bring clarity and truth to an often obscured, inaccurate or derogatory historical narrative.

Support us

Steering committee

They are a group of individuals representing organisations in the city who are committed to the preservation of Black History and their mission is to support the collection, preservation and celebration of the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK and to inspire and give strength to individuals, communities, and society. The development of Black Archives South been made possible through support from Black History Month South, Black Heritage Group, Priory Road Luncheon Club, John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton and Southampton City Council.

Don John

Black History Month South

Olu Rowe

Black History Month South

Lou Taylor

Black History Month South

Carolyn Abel

Head of Culture and Tourism, Southampton City Council

Dan Matthews

Collections & Exhibitions Manager, Southampton City Council

Abdoulie Sanneh

Community Cohesion and Diversity Officer, Southampton City Council

Woodrow Kernohan

Director, John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton

Professor Tony Kushner

James Parkes Professor of History, University of Southampton

Lynne Dick

Head of Programmes (Engagement and Learning), John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton

Archive Reference Group

Our mission is to collect, preserve and celebrate the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK and to inspire and give strength to individuals, communities, and society.

Helen Jackson

“It is important to preserve the evidence of the Black presence in the Southampton region, and we must ensure that it is recognised as a significant part of the history of Southampton. That is one of the reasons why the Southampton Black Archives project is crucial “

Don John

“As a community we should take steps to ensure that our presence in the region is recorded and recognised, and this work will contribute to that.”

Kiya Connelly

“I am currently an anthropology student who is highly interested in the history between the UK and Caribbean. People from the West Indies have been active within Southampton for centuries, I feel it crucial to investigate and document this rich black history, as it develops a true picture of Southampton and the UK.”

Vilma Scott

“I am an African Caribbean person who has lived and worked in the NHS since 1964. I feel it’s very important to have a true record of African Caribbean people’s presence and contribution during their time in the United kingdom.”

Beverley Dowdell

“I am currently an anthropology student who is highly interested in the history between the UK and Caribbean. People from the West Indies have been active within Southampton for centuries, I feel it crucial to investigate and document this rich black history, as it develops a true picture of Southampton and the UK.”

Kerwin Rodgers

“I am a Oral Historian, a Social Commentator and a Family Genealogist Researcher. I have been avidly researching my four ancestral bloodlines: African – Indian – Portuguese and Scottish/Welsh lineage for over four decades. I am honoured and grateful to Don John; for asking me to take part in this project, because I feel that it is very important to record the presence of African/Caribbean people in the United Kingdom”

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"Southampton Black Archives provides the evidence of the contributions that Black people have made to the history of the region and the history of the nation."
— DR DON JOHN, FOUNDER OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH SOUTH
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“This is a call to all communities in the south, to join us in the construction of an archive where important acts and achievements of the past and present can be assembled. We believe that it is crucial for us to re-present these facts from our point of view, as positive factors in our liberation.”
— LOU TAYLOR, CEO OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH SOUTH
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Our story so far

Black Archives South is the home of Black British History.

Black people have been living in the British south coast for over 500 years in a variety of different roles. In the 16th, 17th and 18th century as indentured labour, servants, sailors, and merchants. Later in the 19th and 20th century as soldiers , fighter pilots, seamen, artists, and foreign dignitaries. There are also some whose heritage has all but been eradicated and they have been absorbed into the native population. Although there is little photographic evidence; the residue of the aforementioned presence is still somewhere out there.

For many years there have been an assortment of small projects collecting and showcasing individual stories and episodes about the presence of Black people (those of African & Caribbean background) in the Southampton area. This has ranged from oral histories, Black History Month exhibitions, outdoor celebrations, City Council records, information contained within the two local universities, church records and personal recollections from institutions and private companies where there was knowledge of the presence of Black peoples. This has been in the form of documents, photographs, physical artefacts, films, oral testimony etc. . Nonetheless those who have been involved over the years must be acknowledged for the contributions that they have made regarding their oral histories, written histories, photographs and video recordings which has provided an important foundation that we can build on.

The Black Archives South came to the conclusion that what was needed was a space where members of the community, especially young people, could come and find positive representations of themselves in history and culture, painting a more comprehensive picture of Black presence in the south of England.

Ways you can help

Contribute

Share your love for Black British History and support Black Archives South by becoming a contributor. Help us continue the urgent work of collecting, protecting, and promoting Black British History to inspire and strength society.

Volunteer

Volunteer support is at the heart of BAS’s story. We rely upon our extraordinary volunteers to share their skills in support our important work, in a wide-range of ways. Find out more now.

Donate / Fundraise

Whether you want to throw a party, run a race, host and exhibition, screen a film or create a fundraiser or any other activity, we’re on hand to support you raising funds towards Black Archives South’s community projects

Community Voices

HEAR WHAT THE LOCAL PEOPLE OF THE SOUTH HAVE TO SAY.

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Black People: What’s in a Name!

Blog|

Rosa Parkes once said that there is only one Race…..The Human Race. Nonetheless as Human beings we have always found interesting ways to accentuate our differences and attach a value to that difference. Our exposure to western influences added another dimension to

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