The Liverpool-Born Black Community

The Liverpool-Born Black Community

Diverse Magazine

Dr. Ray Costello

The history of The Liverpool Black Community seems to have been strangely ignored in the dialogue on asylum seekers and immigration by government pundits.

The Liverpool Black Community is distinguished from others by its continuity, some black Liverpudlians being able to trace their roots in Liverpool for as many as ten generations. This community dates back to even before the American War of Independence, which caused numbers of free Black Loyalists to settle in London and the growing township. Early settlers ranged from freed slaves and black servants to the student sons and daughters of African rulers, who had visited the port from at least the 1730s.

Liverpool’s Black community is some three centuries old, but, incredibly, still faces difficulties of identification. Although not all of the Liverpool Black Community is of dual heritage, the majority of those born in Liverpool are. Much of the difficulty of identification of the Liverpool Black Community lies in the fact that, from its beginnings, the Liverpool Black population has, indeed, been a mixed race community, the result of more male settlers than female; freed Black American soldiers arriving in 1782 after the American War of Independence, to be followed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries by African and West Indian sailors, soldiers and workers.

The very definition of a “mixed-race” society is fraught with difficulty, and this is one of the problems of acknowledgement, even in Liverpool. All the current terms are inadequate: The term “half-caste” has long been discredited, but even newer terms; “mixed-race” and “dual heritage” have their own problems. “Dual heritage” suggests a child living with the supposed ‘dilemma’ of each parent having a different culture or background. This may not be the case in many Liverpool children with both European and African genes, as any intermarriage may have taken place generations ago. Thus, a child who appears to have 50/50 genes may not have one black and one white parent, but could be the product of a community which became a distinct multi-racial community literally centuries ago, just as Mexicans and many Central and South Americans have now evolved from being considered half Native American (or ‘Indian’, as they were wrongly called) and half Spanish to distinct ethnic identities…

Read the entire article here.

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