Black History Month

We are celebrating Black History Month this October by commemorating and raising awareness of the positive role of African and Caribbean men in the First World War.

There are many touching and inspiring stories, including one about Kent-born Walter Tull, who went from being a professional footballer before the war started to being the first black combatant officer. Our timeline of Kent & Medway during the First World War includes archive and local history resources related to Walter Tull held at the Kent History and Library Centre. The timeline is being researched by members of staff and Time2Give volunteers at KHLC.

Find a range of sources in the archive and local history collections as well as our recommended reads.

Recommended reads

Adult

  • Against All Odds by Stephen Wynn
  • As good as any man: Scotland’s black tommy by John Sadler
  • The World’s War: forgotten soldiers of the Empire by David Olusoga
  • Black Tommies: British soldiers of African descent in the First World War by Ray Costello
  • Black Poppies: Britain’s black community & the Great War by Stephen Bourne
  • We Die like Brothers – John Gribble
  • Black Shame: African Soldiers in Europe 1914-22 by Dick Van Galan Last
  • Dancing the Death Drill – Fred Khumalo (adult fiction)

Children

  • Walter Tull’s Scrapbook by Michaela Morgan (non fiction)
  • A Medal for Leroy by Michael Morpurgo
  • Respect by Michaela Morgan (dyslexia friendly)

Stories

British West Indies Regiment (PDF, 259.8 KB) - learn how the British Army formed a second West Indies Regiment in 1915 from Caribbean volunteers who had made their way to Britain.

The Labour Corps (PDF, 165.9 KB) - find out about how men from Africa and the Caribbean were recruited for the First World War.

The Black Soldier's Lament by George A. Borden (PDF, 97.6 KB) - an impassioned poem about life as a black soldier.

The sinking of the Darro ship and the SS Mendi (PDF, 260.4 KB) - learn about the tragic sinking of 2 large ships lost at sea.

Walter Tull (PDF, 283.7 KB) - read about Kent-born Walter Tull, who became the first black combatant officer.

Exhibitions

Untold Stories: a celebration of black people in Kent

The Black History Live project team has produced an exciting and interactive exhibition celebrating the fascinating stories of the life and contribution of Black people who lived in Kent. These are incredible but mainly unknown stories, including contributions to politics, armed forces, sports, religion, society and the arts

Visit this exhibition at Chatham Dockyard from 5 October – 2 December 2018.

Walter Tull: His Life and Legacy

To coincide with armistice centenary commemorations in November and Black History Month in October 2018, 100 years after Walter’s death, Folkestone Museum will bring Walter’s story to a new generation. Owing to the generous loan of objects, letters, diaries and photographs, this will be the first extensive exhibition about Walter Tull and his family.

Visit this exhibition at Folkestone Museum from 28 September 2018 - 31 January 2019