Black History In the East End

20 October 2017

Black History In the East End

myPPLR is celebrating Black History Month. And along with the rest of the population it’s a fantastic opportunity to recognise the contributions of African, Caribbean and Black British through Arts Culture and History.

A Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars….

Not only did many black writers settle in the east end. The first ever slave narrative was published by former slave James Albert who eventually settled in what is now known as Tower Hamlets.   Before being captured, James Albert (slave name) was a former Prince of Bournu – (Nigeria).

Olaudah Equiano, also originally from Nigeria bought his freedom after 10 years of enslavement. His narrative is recognised as depicting traditional African life before the European Slave trade.  He played a central role in the British Abolitionist Movement  (the ending of slavery) and petitioned the Queen of England in 1788.

Tower Hamlets has a rich history of black settlement. In the 1950’s, Cable Street, Golding street and Greenfield Street was known as the ‘Harlem of London’ because of its rich identity of black cultural identity through art, music and life.

Today, the Wiltons building not far from the ‘Harlem of London’ might not have   much of its former glory but in its prime it was managed by the Broomhill Opera which staged the first all-black production of Carmen and other famous operas with all black casts.  HRH The Prince of Wales is its first Patron.  This is now a Grade 2 listed building.

To Sir with Love

Mulberry Girls School is the Site of the 1967 film To Sir with Love starring Academy Award Winning Actor Sidney Poitier and Scottish singer Lulu.  It too is set right here in Tower Hamlets. The film highlights the experiences of a Black Male Teacher from the Caribbean and addresses social and racial issues. The movie is ranked 27 out of 50 best high school movies.

There is still time to celebrate some of the festivities in Poplar!

Backyard Reflections of Home and Belonging Exhibition – 20 October,  7 – 9pm St. Katherine’s Precinct, 2 Butcher Road, London E14 8DS

A story collecting project exploring the importance of oral history within London’s Afro-Caribbean community.





Taste of Haiti – 20 and 21 October,  12:00 – 8:30pm  –  Kafe 1788 – 4 Vesey Path, London E14 6BT
Enjoy Haitian food in the heart of East London






Pop-Corn – Black History Month on Film,  2 Cotall St, Poplar, London E14 6TL – Poplar Union


Friday 20 October – Amazing Grace Time: 7pm-9.00pm (1hr 58min) Cert: PG
The idealist William Wilberforce manoeuvres his way through Parliament, endeavouring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.

Saturday 28 October – The Princess and the Frog Time: 2pm-3.40pm (1hr 37min) Cert: U

A waitress, desperate to fulfil her dreams as a restaurant owner, is set on a journey to turn a frog prince back into a human being, but she has to face the same problem after she kisses him.





Idea Store @ Chrisp Street.

Once we came, To a new Home – Until 31 Oct 1 Vesey Path, East India Dock Road, London E14 6BT

An Oral History Archive project to preserve, celebrate and promote the history of migration and settlement of the Afro-Caribbean communities through the collection of images and audio files.

Look how far we’ve come Film Screening & Community Talk – Tuesday 31 October Time: 6:30 – 8:30

A discussion on African-British civil rights struggles, how far society has come, or regressed, in engaging with racism within a post-Brexit Britain.


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