Local Black History
Although Norfolk is generally perceived to be a white county, it has had a Black presence for many centuries.
Here we provide some details about this aspect of Norfolk’s history. Yet, there is much more yet to be discovered and documented. If you have any information that could be added to this resource, please contact us.
When Dr. Allan Glaisyer Minns became Mayor of Thetford in 1904 he also became Britain’s very first Black mayor.
A former slave himself, Olaudah Equiano was arguably the most important anti-slavery campaigner in the history of the UK.
Pablo Fanque (born William Darby in Norwich) was a famous circus performer who went on to become the only Black Circus owner in Britain, indirectly inspiring John Lennon’s lyric to the song For the Benefit of Mr Kite.
We know little about the lives of ‘Charley’ and ‘Cotton’. Both probably were either former slaves or the sons of slaves. But thanks to the recent discovery of a collection of early 19th century watercolours, we know that both men ran their own businesses in 1820s Norwich.