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David Killingray

Guyaneselawyer, politician, and diplomat who was appointed travelling secretary of the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP) during the Second World War. Carter was born in the British colony of British Guiana. He attended Queen's College, Georgetown, and came to London University in 1939 to read law, qualifying as a barrister at the Middle Temple in 1942. During the war years the LCP grew in members and significance, and so did its concern for the welfare of the many military and labour volunteers from the colonies. Another concern was for the large numbers of African‐American soldiers in Britain from 1942 onwards. Carter became general and travelling secretary of the LCP in early 1942 using his legal skills to deal with numerous instances of racial discrimination and also the case of an African American soldier sentenced to death for rape by a US military court Carter ...

Article

David Dabydeen

West Indiancarpenter murdered in Notting Hill by white youths. Britain was particularly racially tense in the late 1950s, when the white working classes felt culturally and economically threatened by the presence of Blacks. Two active political groups in the Notting Hill area were the White Defence League and the National Labour Party, one claiming to be a Nazi group, the other a racial nationalist one. The culmination of the situation were the ‘race’ riots in 1958 in Notting Hill. One of the tragic results of these events was the murder of Cochrane, an Antiguan who was on his way back from the hospital after having had his broken thumb bandaged. He was stabbed with a knife in May 1958 by six white youths who were never caught. Following Cochrane's murder, the black activist Claudia Jones campaigned for the black community and helped to organize strategies for approaching the ...

Article

David Killingray

Cricketer, politician, and broadcaster born into a middle‐class family in Trinidad. When he left school, he became a clerk in a local company, a post he held for the next ten years until 1927, the year he married Norma Cox. His father was a good cricketer and Constantine also became an excellent fielder. He played for his school and as a member of the Trinidad team in inter‐colonial matches; he was selected for the West Indies team to tour England in 1923, and again in 1928. During that tour Constantine's distinguishing moment came in the match against Middlesex in June 1928 when his skills as bowler, fielder, and scorer enabled the West Indies to defeat their opponents by three wickets. C. L. R. James wrote of him he took 100 wickets made 1 000 runs and laid claim to being the finest fieldsman ever ...

Article

H.R. Costello

Early Liverpudliansolicitor. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, the son of a wealthy white member of the plantocracy and his mixed‐race mother, Hannah Woodcock. On his father's death, William and his sisters were brought back to Liverpool by their uncle, John Daggers, a prominent and respected gentleman. William's family connections and his social class apparently helped to ease his entry into Liverpudlian society because he appears to have been accepted into the highest social circles.

William Daggers was a contemporary of Joshua Lace, founder of the Liverpool Law Society, set up in 1824. Daggers followed Lace into the legal profession, and in 1819 gained his certificate as a solicitor Though he seldom appeared in court he was widely sought after and consulted for his brilliant knowledge of equity and conveyancing He acquired a reputation with the Council for his work on issues affecting the ...

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Leila Kamali

British barrister who came to prominence in the Somerset case. Hargrave was born in London, and entered Lincoln's Inn as a student in 1760. Having written to the abolitionist Granville Sharp offering his services, Hargrave was the most prominent of the five lawyers who appeared on behalf of James Somerset, a slave who was brought from Boston, Massachusetts, then a British colony, to England in 1769. Somerset escaped, but was recaptured and imprisoned on a ship bound for Jamaica, also a British colony. At Sharp's intervention, hearings began in February 1772.

In this Hargrave s first appearance in court he argued that while colonial law might permit slavery those laws did not apply in England and further that English law did not allow for any person to enslave himself by contract Somerset was freed and Hargrave s argument was decisive in Lord Mansfield s ruling ...

Article

Former slaves whose kidnapping case was fought by the 18th‐century abolitionist Granville Sharp. John Hylas and his wife, Mary, were both born in Barbados. In the year 1754 they were each brought to England—John by his mistress, Judith Aleyne, and Mary by her master and mistress, Mr and Mrs Newton. They met in England, and married with the consent of their owners in 1758. After their marriage John Hylas was set free, and the couple lived happily together until, in 1766, Mary was kidnapped by her former owners and sent to the West Indies to be sold as a slave.

Having heard of Granville Sharp's fight for the liberty of Jonathan Strong, in 1768 John Hylas approached Sharp, who prepared a memorandum enabling him to begin an action against Newton.

The court found in favour of Hylas, who was awarded 1s nominal ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Biographer of Ignatius Sancho, the African writer whose letters were published in England in 1782. Jekyll was the only son of Edward Jekyll, a captain in the Royal Navy. Details concerning his place of birth are uncertain. He studied at Christ Church, Oxford, left for France upon completion of his studies in 1774, and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1788.

Jekyll may have met Sancho during this period, but there is no confirmation of this. In fact, information regarding their relationship is scarce and is left to much speculation. However, one piece of evidence affirms that Jekyll and Sancho did indeed meet and had some form of connection that extended beyond the purely professional. A letter written around 1803 by Sancho's son William to Jekyll, suggests that Jekyll was generous to the Sancho family:

To Joseph Jekyll Esq M P From ...

Article

Erin D. Somerville

English lawyer and Victorian novelist whose examination of Indian indentured labourers influenced post‐abolition politics. The son of a Wesleyan missionary, Jenkins was born in Bangalore, India. He was educated in Canada before moving to Britain in the 1860s and qualifying as a barrister in 1864.

Jenkins became involved with the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science after starting his law practice. His involvement with the Association nurtured the link between domestic public health and international social policy that would dominate his later political writing. In 1870 the Aborigines Protection Society and the Anti‐Slavery Society commissioned Jenkins to travel to British Guiana and investigate injustices within the indentureship system. His criticism of the plantocracy focused on the medical, legal, and labour mistreatment of Indian and Chinese indentured workers and was documented in The Coolie: His Rights and Wrongs (1871 Half travelogue and half legal report the ...

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Cecily Jones

On 22 April 1993, 18‐year‐old Stephen Lawrence was murdered at a bus stop in Eltham south east London Though police investigations failed to secure the convictions of his killers Stephen s murder was the catalyst to some of the most important changes to the operation of the criminal ...

Article

Christopher Fyfe

Lawyer and leading public figure among the Krio (then called ‘Creole’) people of Sierra Leone. His father was a wealthy businessman who sent him to London to study law. Called to the Bar in 1871, on his return home he built up a substantial legal practice. Quiet‐mannered, a dedicated Methodist, unobtrusive in appearance, he owed his success to his well‐grounded legal knowledge, not to histrionic display. Although he occasionally acted for the government, he preferred the independence and financial rewards of private practice.

From 1882 Lewis was a member of the Legislative Council. There, though he was ready to oppose the government, sometimes with great tenacity, in general he supported its measures, even to earning widespread hostility when he went against public feeling. When Freetown became a municipality in 1895 he was elected Mayor, and in 1896 was awarded the first African knighthood.

When the Protectorate was proclaimed in ...

Article

James Graham

Adopted name of Malcolm Little, also known by his Muslim name, el‐Hajj Malik el‐Shabazz (1925–1965), influential black nationalist. Raised in a Baptist family but bereaved of both parents at an early age, Malcolm's troubled childhood and adolescence is vividly retold in the posthumous best‐selling Autobiography (1965). It was during his imprisonment for burglary (1946–52) that Malcolm discovered the Islamic faith which was to become the driving force in his life. For the next eleven years he dedicated himself to the cause of race pride and black nationalism, spreading the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and the influence of his organization, the Black Muslim sect (later to become the Nation of Islam). In 1964 Malcolm left the organization and formed his own group the Organization of Afro American Unity It was in the following years of antipathy between Malcolm and his former leader and followers ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

Nickname of Edgar McManning or Manning (1889–1931), Jamaican criminal. Living in London by 1916 and working in an armaments factory, Manning achieved notoriety through widespread newspaper reports. Their misrepresentations have since fuelled memoirs, biographies, and histories. He shot three men in 1920 and was sent to prison for sixteen months. In 1922 he was alleged to be dealing in cocaine. The Times described him as an ‘important drug trafficker’: he pleaded guilty to being in possession. A year later he was again found with drugs, and again pleaded guilty. Newspapers linked him with a young woman's death through heroin, and with prostitution, but without evidence.

Cocaine use was expanding in London and the amended Dangerous Drugs Act changed the maximum sentence for possession from six months to ten years Manning was the first to be convicted under these rules and went to prison for three years He returned ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Adopted name of Michael de Freitas (1933–1975), black revolutionary and civil rights activist in London. Michael X was born in Trinidad to a Portuguese father and Barbadian mother. He immigrated to London in 1957 and lived in the Notting Hill area. Before converting to Islam, Michael X, who was also known by the name of Michael Abdul Malik, was a pimp and a hustler, similar to his idol Malcolm X. He founded the Racial Adjustment Action Society and in 1967 became the first person to be imprisoned under England's Race Relations Act. Michael X's impulsive nature resulted in several convictions, among them an eighteen‐month jail sentence for advocating the shooting of black women who were seen in the company of white men. He argued for the congregation of Blacks in social communes. In 1969 he was given money to start a commune in Islington but ...

Article

Cecily Jones

Nickname of Rahasya Rudra Narayan (1938–1998), barrister and civil rights activist. He was born in British Guiana (now Guyana), the ninth of ten children of Indo‐Guianan parents. He arrived in Britain in 1953, and after a series of menial jobs enlisted in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, where he served until 1965, before leaving with the rank of sergeant. He then read for the Bar, at Lincoln's Inn, where he helped to found the Bar Students' Union, and later also became the Union's first president. He was called to the Bar in 1968, a year before his marriage to Dr Naseem Akbar, with whom he had two daughters.

When, in 1973, Narayan and Sighbat Kadric QC founded the Association of Commonwealth Lawyers (the predecessor to the Immigrant Lawyers' Group, which became the Society of Black Lawyers in 1981 the chairman of the ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

Lawyer in Lancashire and Cheshire born in British Guiana (now Guyana). The son of a Georgetown builder, Nelson studied at St John's College, Oxford (1898–1902), where he was an officer of the Oxford Union under Prime Minister Asquith's son Raymond. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1904, and established his legal practice in Manchester and his home at Bowdon, then Hale, Cheshire. He married, had a daughter, played cricket, and was elected to Hale Council from 1913 to his death. He chaired the Council in 1937.

Nelson achieved fame following the murder of George Storrs at Stalybridge in 1909. As defence lawyer, Nelson secured the acquittal of Mark Wilde, who had been accused of the crime. The Yorkshire Herald called him ‘the coloured barrister’ (29 October 1910) but the Stalybridge Reporter of that date just published his ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Christian abolitionist who worked closely with William Wilberforce. Stephen was born in Poole, Dorset, and educated in Winchester. He became a barrister and had a law practice in the West Indies. As a consequence of viewing the horrors of slavery and the extreme ill‐treatment of slaves on the islands, he started a correspondence with the abolitionist William Wilberforce and provided him with information on the practice of slavery in the West Indies. Under Wilberforce's influence, he joined the Clapham Sect, constituted of Christians working with Wilberforce, and eventually became its leader. He wrote a number of books that attacked the slave trade and several significant pamphlets such as War in Disguise or the Frauds of the Neutral Flags and The Slavery of the British West India Colonies Delineated Stephen also offered a few proposals for the ending of the slave trade Among them was the registration of slaves ...

Article

John Gilmore

The subject of one of the earliest important legal cases relating to slavery in Britain. Strong was brought to England from Barbados, where he had been a slave and which may have been his place of birth, by his master, a Barbadian merchant and planter called David Lisle. In 1765 Granville Sharp met Strong in London, at the house of his brother William Sharp, a surgeon who gave free medical advice and treatment to the poor. Lisle had beaten Strong about the head with a pistol and turned him out into the street, and Strong had found his way to William Sharp's house in search of help. William Sharp arranged for Strong to be treated at St Bartholomew's Hospital, but his injuries were so severe that it was more than four months before he was discharged.

The Sharp brothers then found employment for Strong with a London apothecary ...

Article

Cecily Jones

The murder of the schoolboy Damilola Taylor led to one of the most public police investigations in the United Kingdom since the murder in 1993 of Stephen Lawrence, and much national soul‐searching about inner‐city poverty, gang culture, and youth crime.

Born in Nigeria to Gloria and Richard Taylor, Damilola moved with his family to England in August 2000. They settled in Peckham, south London. On 27 November 2000, on his way home from a computer class, Damilola was brutally attacked by a gang of youths. He was later found, just yards from his home, in the stairwell of a run‐down housing estate, bleeding from a stab wound inflicted by a broken bottle, and died on the way to hospital.

Already under pressure after their failure to secure a conviction in the Stephen Lawrence murder case police immediately launched a massive investigation Despite encountering what they ...

Article

John Evans

Son of a slave and a wealthy planter on St Kitts, Wells became a major landowner in Monmouthshire, South Wales, and Britain's first black sheriff. He was probably the wealthiest black person in the country at the time.

His father, William Wells (1730–94), left Cardiff with his brother Nathaniel for St Kitts to make his fortune in the sugar and slave trade in about 1749. He married a wealthy widow in 1753, Elizabeth Taylor née Fenton. She bore William two children, who died in infancy, before she herself died in 1759. Subsequently William fathered at least six children with various slaves, one of whom, Nathaniel, was born on 10 September 1779, the son of Juggy, his African house slave. He was baptized on 3 March 1783 at Trinity Church Palmetto Point By the age of 9 wells was living in London with ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

convened the first Pan-African Conference in July 1900 in London, England, in the midst of a legal career that included admission to the bar in England, South Africa (Cape Colony), and Trinidad and election as probably the first African-descended borough councillor in Britain.

Williams was born on Arouca, Trinidad, the son of Henry Bishop Williams, a wheelwright, and Elizabeth Williams, immigrants from Barbados. Barbados was strongly influenced by British culture, while Trinidad had a majority French–Creole African population, with Indian indentured laborers imported starting in 1845. Williams attended a village government school, closely associated to the Church of England, to which he belonged his entire life.

At age fifteen, he passed an examination for admission to the Men's Normal School in Port-of-Spain, and in 1886 he passed a teaching exam (Mathurin, p. 21). His first teaching assignment, in 1887 was La Fortunee Bien Venue Government School ...