Transatlantic Liverpool: Shades of the Black Atlantic

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2022-11-27 05:15Z by Steven

Transatlantic Liverpool: Shades of the Black Atlantic

Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield)
October 2022
342 pages
Trim: 6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-7936-5263-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-7936-5264-5

Mark Christian, Professor of Africana Studies
City University of New York, New York, New York

In Transatlantic Liverpool: Shades of the Black Atlantic, Mark Christian presents a Black British study within the context of the transatlantic and Liverpool, England. Taking a semi-autoethnographic approach based on the author’s Black Liverpool heritage, Christian interacts with Paul Gilroy’s notion of the Black Atlantic. Yet, provides a fresh perspective that takes into account a famous British slave port’s history that has been overlooked or under-utilized. The longevity of Black presence in the city involves a history of discrimination, stigma, and a population group known colloquially as Liverpool Born Blacks (LBBs). Crucially, this book provides the reader with a deeper insight of the transatlantic in regard to the movement of Black souls and their struggle for acceptance in a hostile environment. This book is an evocative, passionate, and revealing read.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
    1. Theorizing Transatlantic Liverpool and the Black Atlantic Paradigm
    2. Life and Times in a Liverpool Black Family – The Christians
    3. Schooling, L8 Community Football, Grassroots Education, and Mainstream Miseducation
    4. Anti-Black Riots, Resistance & Black Organization Demise: 1919-2000s
    5. A Tale of Two Freedoms: Contemporary Self-Reflexivity and the Memory of Frederick Douglass
  • Appendices
    1. Liverpool City Council Slave Apology Minutes – from December 9, 1999
    2. The Age of Slave Apologies: The Case of Liverpool, England – transcript of public lecture presented by Dr. Mark Christian, November 14, 2007
    3. Front cover: CWCN Reports on Historic Slave Apology (Issue 26: December 1999)
    4. Consortium of Black Organisations – Liverpool- Response to LCC Slave Apology
    5. Front cover: CWCN Celebration of College Status (Issue 12: December 1992)
    6. CWCN Editorial denounces drastic cuts to funding by LCC (Issue 21: June 1997)
    7. Liverpool Echo (August 27, 1997) – Report praised CWC teaching
    8. Front cover: CWCN (Issue 1: June 1987) – Evidence of LCC fight to close CWC in 1987
    9. Front cover: CWCN (Issue 25: June 1999) – Reports on Lawrence Inquiry and Racism
    10. CWCN (Issue 12: December 1992, p.13) – Proof of Jacqueline N. Brown visiting CWC.
    11. Front cover: CWCN (Issue 8: December 1990) – Dr. William E. Nelson Jr at CWC
    12. Dr Mark Christian Community Education Award from The Voice 1999
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Author
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A British betrayal: the secret deportations of Chinese merchant sailors

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2021-11-11 22:09Z by Steven

A British betrayal: the secret deportations of Chinese merchant sailors

The Guardian

Presented by: Nosheen Iqbal with Dan Hancox and Yvonne Foley
Produced by Joshua Kelly and Axel Kacoutié
Executive producers Phil Maynard and Archie Bland

Yvonne Foley, Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

During the second world war, Chinese sailors served alongside their British allies in the merchant navy, heroically keeping supply lines open to the UK. But after the war hundreds of them who had settled in Liverpool suddenly disappeared. Now their children are piecing together the truth

Liverpool is home to the longest-established Chinese community in Europe having built sea links with Shanghai from the 19th century onwards. A thriving Chinatown is among the city’s present day inheritance of the era. But there is a darker side to the story of Liverpool’s Chinese community.

During the second world war, Chinese men served alongside their British comrades in merchant vessels that kept supply lines of food and other essentials flowing into the UK. It was incredibly dangerous work as the enormous cargo ships were ready targets for German U-boats and many of the seamen perished. After the war, many of the Chinese sailors settled in Liverpool with some starting families. But from 1946 onwards many started to go missing from the city.

On a day that Britain remembers the sacrifices of its war dead, writer Dan Hancox tells Nosheen Iqbal how he began investigating what had happened to the missing Chinese sailors and found a story of betrayal that is largely unknown in the UK. In the months following the war, the Home Office carried out thousands of secret deportations of Chinese seamen leaving their wives and children to believe they had been abandoned.

Yvonne Foley tells Nosheen she was 11 when she was told the truth about her Chinese heritage and has been trying ever since to find out what happened to her biological father she has never known.

Listen to the story (00:30:52) here. Download the story here.

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Reflections on Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United Kingdom on 2016-09-21 01:47Z by Steven

Reflections on Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

International Slavery Museum
Dr Martin Luther King Jr building, Albert Dock
Liverpool, United Kingdom
2016-09-21, 13:00-16:00 BST (Local Time)

Dr Mark Christian, Professor and Chair of Africana Studies
Lehman College, City University of New York

Black Liverpool and grassroots education in L8

There remains a burning need in today’s society for Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s message, and his hope of a Beloved Community to prevail:

  • where all people share equally in the wealth of the earth,
  • where poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it;
  • where racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood;
  • where international disputes are resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of by military power;
  • for love and trust to triumph over fear and hatred,
  • and for peace with justice to prove more powerful than war and military conflict.

The city of Liverpool’s history of fighting racism and discrimination goes back centuries. At this free talk, Dr Mark Christian, Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at Lehman College, City University of New York, himself a product of grassroots education in Liverpool (Charles Wootton Centre/College and L8 Access to Higher Education), will reflect on Dr King’s ideas from the perspective of Black Liverpool.

Following Mark’s talk, there will be a panel discussion and the opportunity for the audience to consider the role of education and the empowerment of marginalised groups in Liverpool.

For more information, click here.

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The half-Chinese children on growing up find little difficulty in obtaining work or in entering into marriage with the surrounding white population…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-05-22 21:34Z by Steven

The half-Chinese children on growing up find little difficulty in obtaining work or in entering into marriage with the surrounding white population. The girls in particular are attractive and good-looking. On the other hand, the Anglo-negroid children when grown up do not easily get work or mix with the ordinary population.

Maurice Broody, “The Social Adjustment of Chinese Immigrants in Liverpool,” The Sociological Review, Volume 3, Issue 1 (July 1955) pages 65-75.

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The family who never knew their father

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-08-31 00:46Z by Steven

The family who never knew their father

BBC News Magazine

Harry Low

Our story about the forced repatriation of Chinese sailors who had been recruited for the Merchant Navy during World War Two told of the devastation for those families left behind. Barbara Janecek shared her own tale in response.

She had read about Yvonne Foley, whose father Nan Young, a Chinese ship engineer, was sent back to the Far East following the end of the war. He was one of thousands of recruits from Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong who lived in Liverpool.

“I was always waiting for my father to come back, I was always daydreaming he would,” says Barbara, whose father John had suffered the same fate. John Ong had married Eileen Hing in 1943 when they were both aged 23. Eileen was devastated when her husband left, leaving his wife to raise three children under the age of four…

Read the entire article here.

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Looking for my Shanghai father

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-08-30 02:17Z by Steven

Looking for my Shanghai father

BBC News Magazine

Jody-Lan Castle

Yvonne Foley with her mother Grace

After World War Two ended, the British government forcibly repatriated hundreds of Chinese sailors who had been recruited for the Merchant Navy. Their sudden departure had a devastating effect on families left behind, like that of Yvonne Foley.

“You’re just like your father,” Yvonne’s mother exclaimed, “always arguing, trying to change the world.”

The nine-year-old was confused. That sounded nothing like her father.

“I mean your Shanghai father,” her mother insisted.

Who? Yvonne was momentarily baffled, but then put it to the back of her mind.

Two years later, in 1957, the subject came up again. This time her mother, Grace, wanted to tell her more.

The man Yvonne had been calling “Dad” was not her biological father. Instead her birth father was Nan Young, a Chinese ship engineer her mother had met in Liverpool in 1943…

Read the entire article here.

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Before the Windrush: Race Relations in 20th-Century Liverpool

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2013-12-17 23:02Z by Steven

Before the Windrush: Race Relations in 20th-Century Liverpool

Liverpool University Press
March 2014
288 pages
16 black and white illustrations, 1 colour illustrations, 1 maps
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781846319679
Paperback ISBN: 9781781380000

John Belchem, Emeritus Professor of History
University of Liverpool

Long before the arrival of the ‘Empire Windrush’ after the Second World War, Liverpool was widely known for its polyglot population, its boisterous ‘sailortown’ and cosmopolitan profile of transients, sojourners and settlers. Regarding Britain as the mother country, ‘coloured’ colonials arrived in Liverpool for what they thought to be internal migration into a common British world. What they encountered, however, was very different. Their legal status as British subjects notwithstanding, ‘coloured’ colonials in Liverpool were the first to discover: ‘There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack’.

Despite the absence of significant new immigration, despite the high levels of mixed dating, marriages and parentage, and despite pioneer initiatives in race and community relations, black Liverpudlians encountered racial discrimination, were left marginalized and disadvantaged and, in the aftermath of the Toxteth riots of 1981, the once proud ‘cosmopolitan’ Liverpool stood condemned for its ‘uniquely horrific’ racism.

‘Before the Windrush’ is a fascinating study that enriches our understanding of how the empire ‘came home’. By drawing attention to Liverpool’s mixed population in the first half of the twentieth century and its approach to race relations, this book seeks to provide historical context and perspective to debates about Britain’s experience of empire in the twentieth century.


  • List of Tables
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • Introduction: ‘The most disturbing case of racial disadvantage in the United Kingdom’
  • 1. Edwardian cosmopolitanism
  • 2. Riot, miscegenation and inter-war depression
  • 3. War-time hospitality and the colour bar
  • 4. Repatriation, reconstruction and post-war race relations
  • 5. Race relations in the 1950s
  • 6. 1960s: race and youth
  • 7. The failure of community relations
  • 8. ‘It took a riot’
  • Sources consulted
  • Index
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Multiracial Identity: An International Perspective

Posted in Africa, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2013-03-28 13:16Z by Steven

Multiracial Identity: An International Perspective

Palgrave Macmillan
September 2000
186 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches
ISBN: 978-0-312-23219-1
ISBN10: 0-312-23219-5

Mark Christian, Professor of African & African American Studies
Lehman College, City University of New York

Multiracial Identity provides an accessible account of the social construction of racialized groups. Using both primary (in-depth interviews) and secondary data, four nations are examined: the UK, US, South Africa, and Jamaica. The author discusses how little attention has been traditionally been given to theorizing multiracial identity in the context of white supremacist thought and practice.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword–Diedre L. Badejo
  • Part I: Theorizing Multiracial Identity
    • Toward a Definition of Identity
    • Multiracial Identity as a Term in the 1990s
    • Historical Theories of ‘Mixed Race’ Persons
    • Contemporary US Theories in Multiracial Identity
    • Contemporary UK Theories in Multiracial Identity
  • Part II: Speaking forThemselves (I)
    • How the Liverpool, UK Respondents Define Themselves in a Racial Sense
    • Parental Influence in the Construction of a Racialized Identity
  • Part III: Speaking for Themselves (II) Shades of Blackness
    • Is Wanting to Change One’s Physical Appearance an Issue?
  • Part IV: South Africa and Jamaica: “Other” Multiracial Case Studies
    • South Africa and the Social Construction of “Coloureds”
    • Jamaica in Context
  • Part V: Assessing Multiracial Identity White Supremacy and Multiracial Identity
    • Social Status and Multiracial Identity
    • Nomenclature Default and Multiracial Terminology
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Mixing Up the Game: Social and Historical Contours of Black Mixed Heritage Players in British Football

Posted in Books, Chapter, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2013-03-25 02:08Z by Steven

Mixing Up the Game: Social and Historical Contours of Black Mixed Heritage Players in British Football

Mark Christian, Professor & Chair of African & African American Studies
Lehman College, City University of New York

pages 131-144

in the volume Race, Ethnicity and Football: Persisting Debates and Emergent Issues
288 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-415-88205-7

Edited by:

Daniel Burdsey, Senior Lecturer of Sociology
Chelsea School of Sport
University of Brighton


As the world comes to terms with the reality that the most powerful man on earth, President Barack Obama, is of African-American (mixed heritage) background, it is evident that multiracial heritage has become a popular subject matter. Yet much of this interest stems from the fact that history has been made in terms of a person of colour holding court in the most powerful office in the world. That stated, the social world of mixed heritage persons continues to be one of mixed fortunes. In relation to football, however, there is little doubt that the emergence of players of mixed heritage is palpable in the English Premier League and England team set-up.

This chapter primarily focuses on the socio-historical experiences of black mixed heritage’ footballers within the context of British society. What qualifies me to write on such a subject as black mixed heritage footballers in the UK context? In the world of social science, my social background and academic training would probably be deemed “organically connected” to the phenomena under scrutiny. Indeed having been raised in the city of Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s, I am acutely aware of both British football and institutional racism. Moreover, my black British heritage and intellectual interests have intersected with my love for the beautiful game and the experience of black British players in general.

Additionally, I played for over a decade in the amateur football scene in Liverpool during the 1980s in predominantly black mixed heritage teams based in Toxteth/Liverpool 8, winning league titles and cups on a regular basis. During the 1980s, both of the city’s professional clubs, Everton and Liverpool, had very successful teams, yet it was rare to see a black face on the pitch or on the terraces. Racialised relations were rather poor, and it was difficult for local blacks in the city to go beyond the boundaries of Toxteth/Liverpool 8, where the majority resided, without incurring physical threats to one’s life. Moreover, the city council also had an appalling record of discrimination in employment against its local black population (Gifford et al. 1989).

Most importantly, beyond the structures of institutional racism in Liverpool, I know what it is like to be called a “black bastard” while playing a game of football. Indeed, racism was rife in amateur football on the pitch and in the professional game on the terraces. I recall John Barnes making his England debut in 1983, and later the chants of the England supporters: “there ain’t no black in the Union Jack, Johnnie Barnes, Johnnie Barnes”—a chant that would lead the academic Paul Gilroy (1987) to coin the phrase for his bestseller There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack


Britain has a long history of amnesia in what could be deemed a “racialised mongrelisation” memory loss. After all, it is a state that has historically “mixed” with many cultural groups. To be sure, since the earliest times of British history, peoples with varied ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, languages and cultures have settled in Britain; from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages (5000 BC-100 BC) to the Roman Britain era (55 BC-410 AD). Briefly, the Picts, Celts, Romans, Saxons, Angles, Danes, Jutes, Vikings and Normans are key historical cultural groups that led to the “normative” white ethnic category now described homogenously as “white” and singular in authoritative government census surveys…

Read the entire chapter (by permission of the author) here.

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The Difficulty of Defining “mixed-race”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes, United Kingdom on 2013-03-15 20:01Z by Steven

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…

Dr. Ray Costello. “The Liverpool-Born Black Community,” Diverse Magazine. 2009.

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