9 Black Brits Who Made History In The United Kingdom And Beyond

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Every October the United Kingdom celebrates
Black History Month. Across the country there
are special events nationwide & schools across
the UK teach children about notable Black Brits
from history.

So, in the spirit of
celebration, let’s
take a look at eight


Sarah Forbes Bonetta

Born in Nigeria in 1843, Omoba Aina was
brought to England as a child by the British
captain, Frederick E. Forbes. Captain Forbes
named Omoba ‘Sarah Forbes-Bonetta’ after
his ship.

John Blanke

John Blanke was a 16th century trumpeter
in the royal courts of King Henry VIII. John
is remarkable for being one of the earliest
recorded Black people in England following
Roman rule.

William Brown

In 1815, William Brown became the first
documented Black woman to serve in the
British Royal Navy. At the time, only men
were permitted to serve, and so William
had to pass as a man.

Pablo Fanque

Pablo Fanque (real name Willam Darby) was
the first recorded Black, British circus owner
in history. He ran a popular circus in Victorian
Britain for over 30 years.

Olive Morris

Olive Morris was a community leader and
activist in the feminist, Black nationalist,
and squatters’ rights campaigns of the 1970s.

Ignatius Sancho

Born on a slave ship in 1729, Ignatius was sold into slavery & spent 18 years in the service of an English family. He escaped & eventually established his own business as a bookkeeper. 

John Ystumllyn

John Ystumllyn was an 18th-century Welsh
gardener and the first well-recorded black
person to live in North Wales. 

Fanny Eaton

Eaton was a Jamaican-born model for
the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England
between 1859 & 1867. Born in 1835, she
came to England as a child & worked as a
domestic servant in London.

Want to learn more?

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