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philosopher, pioneer of Islamic reformist thought, pan-Islamic nationalist as well as a staunch opponent of British penetration in the East, also known as al-Asadaabadi and al-Husayni, Afghani, was born in October/November 1839 in the Iranian village of Asadaabad. However, he endeavored to hide his origins so as to conceal his Shiite identity. It was with this in mind that he assumed the surname al-Afghani (of Afghan origin).

His father, Sayyid Safdar, is said to have been a modest farmer, but a learned Muslim. From the age of five to ten, Afghani was apparently educated at home, focusing on Arabic and the Qurʾan. Thereafter, he was sent to school in Qazvin and later Tehran, where he received the standard Shiite education.

After several years of study in the holy city of Najaf, Afghani moved to India in approximately 1855 where he first encountered British colonialism By the time he reached ...

Article

Amar Wahab

Mission to provide shelter to the black poor in Liverpool. In the midst of economic depression, spreading poverty, and growing racism, the African Churches Mission was opened in Liverpool in 1931 by Pastor Daniels Ekarte. Funded by the Church of Scotland, the Mission became a meeting point for many in need. Moreover, it became a refuge for Liverpool's black community in the face of worsening poverty and deprivation. It was the site from which Pastor Ekarte himself politicized around issues of racial inequality.

The Mission also provided shelter to those in need including families affected by the air raids as well as stowaways and homeless people Pastor Ekarte was heavily involved in raising funds to address humanitarian concerns He was helped by many of the women who provided secretarial and bookkeeping assistance and who also did the cooking and housekeeping The Mission also played a critical role in ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

A school in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, c.1893–1912, whose students came from Africa and the diaspora. The Baptist missionary William Hughes developed the concept of a school in Britain where the education of Africans, including carpentry, printing, pharmacy, and tailoring, could be taught by local craftsmen. Five thousand copies of his Dark Africa: And the Way Out were printed in 1892, and distributed at Christian gatherings. Hughes went to Africa in 1893 to recruit, and there were a dozen students (from Angola to Sierra Leone) at the Institute (originally called the Colwyn Bay Institute) in 1895.

Later students included people from America, South Africa, Nigeria, and Zambia. Altogether, 100 students studied at Colwyn Bay (four are buried there), but Hughes was too busy to keep proper accounts. Financial support evaporated in 1912 and Hughes died in 1924.

Article

Humayun Ansari

Evidence of a black Muslim presence in Britain dates back to Tudor and Stuart times. By 1596, so alarmed was Queen Elizabeth I by the growing number of ‘infidel’ ‘Blackamoors’ that she unsuccessfully ordered their expulsion. While many Muslims arrived in England as merchants and traders, others were involuntary residents. In the 1620s North African corsairs operating in English waters were captured, and records testify to a number of Muslims languishing in jails in the south‐west of England. However, a 1641 document suggests the presence in London of a small settled community of Muslims, and by 1725 English society had become well accustomed to their presence. During the 17th and 18th centuries black staff and servants—likely to have been Muslims—accompanied Ottoman emissaries to Britain. Many remained in Britain and Muslims came to form an important element within the ‘permanent’ black population. They included servants (King George I's ...

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David Killingray

Pan‐AfricanMarxist and scholar. Blackman was born in Barbados and won a scholarship to the University of Durham, where he studied theology. He was ordained in the Anglican Church and went to the Gambia as a missionary priest, where he clashed with his bishop over differences of pay for white and black clergy. Having resigned from the Church, Blackman returned to Barbados, but then, in 1938, he settled in London. He joined the leftist Negro Welfare Association, of which he became chairman, and also the League Against Imperialism, being a major speaker on both their platforms. He also became a member of the Executive Committee of the more liberally inclined League of Coloured Peoples, and in 1938–9 editor of its then occasional journal The Keys, writing critically on colonial policy; he also gave evidence to the Royal Commission on the West Indies. In November 1938 ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Scholar, lifelong champion of African rights, and Liberia's first accredited diplomat to the Court of St James, London. Edward Blyden was born in August 1832 in Charlotte‐Amalie, the capital of the island of St Thomas in the Danish West Indies. The third child of free parents—his father was a tailor and his mother a teacher—Blyden enjoyed a tranquil early childhood of personal tuition from his mother, combined with attendance at the local primary school. In 1842 the family moved to Porto Bello in Venezuela, where Blyden's linguistic talents first came to prominence. By the age of 12 he was fluent in Spanish, while at later stages in his life he would also master Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic. On returning to St Thomas two years later, Blyden continued his schooling in the mornings while serving out a five‐year apprenticeship as a tailor in the afternoons.

In 1845 the ...

Article

David Killingray

Many of the black people who came to Britain in the 17th–19th centuries were or became Christians. However, a specific black Christianity does not become significant until after 1950, when larger numbers of Caribbean and African peoples, often from Christian communities, entered the country. They often found that they were not welcome and that Britain was not the Christian society they had imagined. Black people did join British churches but they also created new separate black churches with different forms of worship, liturgy, and music. Many of these were Pentecostal. Some African immigrants, increasing in number after the 1970s, also joined black churches and in certain cases planted branches of African indigenous churches in Britain.

In many American colonies both colonists and slave owners often attempted to keep slaves from Christian ideas for fear that such knowledge would make them rebellious In slave societies accepting that slaves could be ...

Article

Anthony Reddie

According to recent research, black Christianity in Britain is on the rise. A natural outcome of this surge in numbers has been the growth and proliferation of black churches.

1.Origins of black churches in Britain

2.What is a black church?

3.Comparing black churches in Britain and the ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Englishpoet who lent his pen to the anti‐slavery cause. Cowper was a supporter of international commerce, which he saw, idealistically, as the means by which mankind could share in God's bounty. In his poem Charity (1782), trade is described as ‘the golden girdle of the globe’, and Cowper writes of the ‘genial intercourse’ between nations effected by 18th‐century mercantile activity. The slave trader, however, betrays the principle of mutuality underpinning international commerce and brings shame to a Christian nation such as Great Britain (‘Canst thou, and honour'd with a Christian name | Buy what is woman‐born, and feel no shame?’). Religion apart, the slave trader also betrays the spirit of the age, its growing championing of liberty. To Cowper, the existence of slavery calls into question the very nature of humanity:

Then what is man? And what man, seeing this

And having human feelings does not blush ...

Article

David Killingray

The first African bishop of the Church of England in West Africa. An Egba, he was born in Yorubuland and enslaved as a teenager, but rescued by a British ship and landed at the British settlement of Freetown. He was the first liberated African to be formally educated at the Church Missionary Society (CMS) grammar school, Freetown. Crowther became a Christian and was baptized in 1825, taking the name of an English clergyman. From 1825 to 1827 he was in London studying at the Islington parish school.

On his return to West Africa, Crowther trained at the Fourah Bay Institute, Freetown, and became a schoolteacher. His linguistic abilities and reputation for a devout life led the CMS to suggest he join the British Niger expedition in 1841 as an interpreter The expedition failed to achieve its purpose of planting an agricultural settlement of liberated slaves promoting trade and ...

Article

David Killingray

Campaigning Christian evangelist, author, journalist, and Pan‐Africanist born in Dominica but educated in the neighbouring West Indian island of Antigua. An influential friend in Antigua was the Revd Henry Mason Joseph, later president of the African Association in London in 1897. In 1870 Edwards stowed away on a ship and over the next few years he travelled the world as a seaman visiting North and South America and Europe He landed in Sunderland and thereafter lived briefly in Edinburgh and Newcastle and worked with a group of black entertainers At some point he was converted to Christianity and as a Primitive Methodist worked as a temperance evangelist in Lancashire and Cheshire He had ambitions to go to Africa as a missionary but gravitated to east London where he ran a weekly Bible class for men and regularly preached in Victoria Park Some referred to ...

Article

Amar Wahab

Pastor, community activist, and Black leader in Liverpool. Born George Daniel, Daniels Ekarte worked as an errand boy with the Free Church of Scotland in Calabar, Nigeria. Inspired to become a missionary in England, he left as a galley‐hand on board a ship bound for Liverpool in 1915. There, instead of encountering a charitable Christian people, Ekarte met with strong racist attitudes and felt deceived by the missionaries in Nigeria. After a period of disenchantment, he began worshipping with Africans, holding prayer services both in private spaces and in the street. With sponsorship from the Church of Scotland, Pastor Ekarte opened the African Churches Mission in Liverpool in 1931. The Mission was primarily aimed at providing a space of worship and socializing for blacks in Liverpool.

As a community activist and leader, Pastor Ekarte also had a keen interest in the education and welfare ...

Article

David Killingray

African‐American Primitive Methodist evangelist who preached in Britain. Elaw was born near Philadelphia, the child of free parents. Employed as a servant in a Quaker family, she was converted to Christianity and became a Methodist. In 1810 she married a fuller and they settled in New Jersey, where she had a daughter. Revival ‘camp meetings’ in 1817 and 1819 gave Elaw's life a new direction. She was convinced that her life should be devoted to preaching. Being an itinerant and self‐supporting preacher to both black and white congregations placed strains on her marriage, but she was widowed in 1823. In her memoirs (published in London in 1846) she records preaching during the 1830s in the slave‐holding states, at great personal risk, and throughout New England. In 1840 she came to Britain convinced that God had directed her to do so In five years she claimed ...

Article

Philip Herbert

Negro vocal ensemble renowned for introducing to the concert platform a body of slave songs and spirituals. Fisk University was founded in 1866 in Nashville, Tennessee, to educate former slaves. A financial crisis was generated as a result of dilapidated accommodation that needed to be restored and developed. In response to this, during 1871, George L. White (music teacher and bursar), formed the Fisk Jubilee Singers, to tour and fundraise. They planned to sing ballads, arias, and popular religious choral works, showing how cultured former slaves could be; but audiences preferred their authentic slave songs and spirituals, expressing Christian themes of compensation in heaven for the injustices and trials endured on earth. Aptly, their name came from Old Testament history, when at every fiftieth Pentecost a year of Jubilee followed, and when by Hebrew law slaves were freed.

Between 1871 and 1878 they toured extensively receiving critical acclaim ...

Article

David Killingray

Black BritishWesleyan missionary and traveller in West Africa. Freeman was born in Hampshire, the child of a black father and a white mother. Little is known of his early years, but he was employed as a gardener in Suffolk and became a Christian, joining the Wesleyan Methodists. In 1838 Freeman went as a missionary to the Gold Coast, an area of West Africa where he was to spend most of his life. He built Methodist churches at Cape Coast and Accra, promoted education, and trained local men for the ministry. He established a mission station in Kumase, the Asante capital, and visited towns in southern Nigeria and also the kingdom of Dahomey, where he urged King Gezo to stop the slave trade. On furlough in Britain in 1843 Freeman actively promoted missionary work and also the anti‐slavery cause, both helped by publication of his travel accounts. In 1847 ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

Jamaicanmissionary and public speaker born the son of an enslaved woman and Alexander Jackson, a member of the Spanish Town Baptist mission. In the aftermath of emancipation (1838), some freed Jamaicans returned to Africa to assist in the anti‐slavery cause, aided by Jamaican Baptists, who proposed the establishment of a mission to West Africa. As well as spreading the Christian gospel, the mission would provide a stimulus for the repatriation of African‐Caribbeans to Africa. Among the Jamaican missionaries were Alexander Fuller and his son Joseph, who were recruited to assist the establishment of a Baptist mission in Fernando Po, an island off the Gulf of Guinea. Joseph arrived in 1844.

Despite early optimism, the Fernando Po mission did not thrive, and the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) relocated to Cameroon in 1846 Fuller served out a five year apprenticeship with the Cameroon BMS before ...

Article

Sharon Meredith

Protestant vocal music celebrating Christian doctrine in emotive, sometimes dramatic, ways. Gospel music is used to express personal testimony, encouraging thought about personal needs and experience, warning of the consequences of sin, and promising spiritual release. Gospel is performed by vocal soloists, and by groups and choirs of varying sizes. Some groups utilize close harmony technique with a lead vocalist who improvises, employing their wide vocal range, often heavily ornamenting the melodies. Others utilize the African call and response style, the leader improvising above the group, who provide the responses en masse. Gospel music's roots lie in late 19th‐ and early 20th‐century America in the ‘Holiness’ movement churches, but today it has moved beyond these churches and is commonplace in other Christian churches, on dedicated gospel radio programmes, and in concert venues.

Until the 1950s the British experience of gospel was limited to visiting American groups such as the Fisk ...

Article

Islam  

Humayun Ansari

Britons had knowledge of Islam almost from its inception in the 7th century primarily because of the major Muslim incursions into Europe which brought Arabs as close to England as Poitiers in France in 732 References to the religion of the Saracens date from the Anglo Saxon period The English ...

Article

David Dabydeen

African preacher who travelled around England and Ireland sermonizing. Jea was born in Old Callabar, Africa, and at the age of 2½ was taken, along with his family, to North America, where they became the slaves of Oliver and Angelika Triebuen. They were ill‐treated and not properly clothed and fed. Working hours were long and intense, as Jea records in his narrative The Life, History, and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea, the African Preacher (1815).

The text captures his life as a slave his rebellion against Christian hypocrisy the finding of his faith his travels and the significance of his sermonizing Laden with quotations from the Bible it is itself a piece of Jea s preaching often questioning the virtues and beliefs of his readers Following his discovery of Christianity at the age of 15 when as he writes the Lord was pleased to remove gross darkness superstition ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

American missionary, author, and evangelist. He had been a house slave in Virginia, but reached England in 1876, where he and his brother‐in‐law studied at Spurgeon's College. He became a Baptist missionary in Cameroon in 1878–9, but ill health forced him out. He then promoted self‐help ideas among American Blacks, travelling widely in the United States. He gathered sufficient support in Britain and Ireland to send Dr T. E. S. Scholes and a carpenter named Ricketts (both from Jamaica) to the Congo. In Britain he associated with the evangelist Henry Gratton Guinness, the Anti‐Slavery Society, the Pan‐Africanist Henry Sylvester Williams, and the choirmaster Frederick Jeremiah Loudin. In 1900 Johnson became a British citizen. He now lived in Bournemouth, where he was a well‐respected individual who would talk of American slavery, tropical Africa (where his first wife, Henrietta, had died), and the Christian message.

First published ...