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Britain's Black Past$
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Gretchen H. Gerzina

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621600

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621600.001.0001

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The Next Chapter: The Black Presence in the Nineteenth Century

The Next Chapter: The Black Presence in the Nineteenth Century

(p.315) Chapter Seventeen The Next Chapter: The Black Presence in the Nineteenth Century
Britain's Black Past

Caroline Bressey

Liverpool University Press

Caroline Bressey turns her attention in this chapter to the 19th century descendants of blacks who had found their way to Britain in the previous century. She focuses on the flawed Victorian depictions of the British black presence (most notably found in the 1875 essay ‘The Black Man’ published in Charles Dickens’s periodical All The Year Round)—which offered narrow sketches of the lives and opportunities of the black population. Bressey offers anecdotal examples of a wider spectrum of employment and lifestyles that blacks were able to partake in and describes how some of the obstacles to uncovering a clearer picture of 19th century blacks in Britain are being eased by the digitization of newspapers, census returns and family papers and diaries. Bressey concludes by calling for more study, propelled by these digital archives, to better understand the diversity of the black British experience.

Keywords:   ‘The Black Man’, All the Year Round, Digital archives, 19th century black presence, Victorian England

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