The Society's seal and three photographs

Our Publications


African Lives in Northern England

In the autumn of 2020, following the founding of the Culture Against Racism group and our President's signature of their Statement Against Racism, the Society supported the publication of a 2021 calendar, African Lives in Northern England, with volunteers working as part of an informal group writing and editing it.

Subsequently in 2021, a factsheet and a booklet giving much fuller information have been published, again with writing and editing work by volunteers from the Society, and we have acted as fund-holders for grant aid received towards publication and for subsequent work.

The Society is glad to have been able to offer its website to host further information and resources about the individuals and places featured in these publications, and background material. The project now has its own website, with the documents and much more on it

For further information, contact the project co-ordinator and editor, Beverley Prevatt Goldstein by e-mail.

Documents in our collection

So far as we have been able to discover, the only document in our archives at Woodhorn, directly relevant to the history of enslavement is SANT/DEE/5/1,  a deed between Jacob Graham of Jamaica, and John and Mary Heward of Brampton, Cumberland, for the sale of enslaved people in Jamaica in 1815. A transcription of this unpleasant document can be seen here, with thanks to Lynn Farquharson for undertaking this task. Mary Heward was herself of partly African heritage, being Jacob Graham's daughter by an enslaved woman, Statira.

The document came to light thanks to a search by archivists at Northumberland Archives for relevant items in the collections lodged there. There is information about this and other documents they found on their LEARN site. Jacob Graham came originally from Cumberland and had close Newcastle links. You can read a PhD thesis by Christer Petley (Warwick University) about him here.

Other documents on this website

Some of the other documents we found and digitised in the course of research for the project are not included in the African Lives website, so we have chosen to retain them here rather than have them lost to view. They are;

  • Nigel Todd, Black-on-Tyne   – the Black Presence on Tyneside in the 1860s, North East Labour History Society 1987. The background material collected for this is in a dossier of the same name, put together as a teaching resource at the same time. Follow this link for the collage on the front cover and the introduction. The items included are all in the Newcastle City Library Local Studies Collection, with the exception of the Black Diamond boxer who is in the Shipley Art Gallery.
  • Robert & Mary Spence of North Shields, Philip Spence, (Reid and Co., 1939) There are copies of this book in North Tyneside Libraries and the Lit and Phil, Newcastle. Follow this link to see a digital copy of this. Our thanks to the Lit and Phil, for scanning their copy and allowing to use it.
  • A transcript of an 'indenture' held by Northumberland Archives, with a note from the researcher who found this for the National Trust. Northumberland Archives hold the original, for a man named Galba, described as a 'native of America' and probably an imported slave. It is contained within document bundle ZBL 35/1. Follow this link for a copy of the transcript and note, with thanks to the National Trust at Wallington.




In the future, don’t forget your past