Birmingham City Council

Introduction to Features on Black History

Features on Black History
Historical sources in Archives and Heritage in Central Library provide us with a considerable amount of information on the early black presence in Birmingham. The aim of these pages is to make this information readily accessible to the public. From the eighteenth century to the early part of the twentieth century some of the history is obscured by insufficient information and documentation. However for the latter part of the twentieth century there is certainly a lot more detail available.

It is always important for individuals, regardless of their ethnicity, to be aware of their history as well as the history of those living around them. This can lead to a better understanding of people within our community. Therefore these web pages has been created for information and education purpose.

The pages primarily concentrate on Black people of African Caribbean and Asian origin, however Birmingham has become the home for many ethnic groups not yet featured on these pages. The intention of this site is to feature more information inclusive of new communities living in the city.

Acknowledgements
We would like to thank Fiona Tait from Archives and Heritage who has edited a guide entitled Black History Sources in Birmingham City Archives. This source list provided the ground work for the creation of this site.

Further acknowledgements must be made of the following for their invaluable assistance:
  • Malcolm Dick and the Millennibrum project for permission to use articles and information from the Millennibrum Supplement previously published in the Birmingham Post and Evening Mail.
  • James Lyttle - Adviser, Equalities Division, Birmingham City Council for permission to use material from BRUMDATA
  • Bournville Village Trust for granting permission to use photograph of a Black nurse-maid in the early part of the twentieth century
  • The Children's Hospital Brick League for granting permission to use photograph showing a Black girl at school in the early part of the twentieth century
  • Sue Green - Carnival Photographs
  • Vanley Burke - Photographs from Vanley Burke Collection
  • Pogus Caesar - Photograph of Vanley Burke
  • Ghazala Saddique - Lokmela celebrations in Birmingham
  • Sanjeeta Redgrave - Photographs from Diwali celebrations in Birmingham
  • Sukhvinder Singh - Photographs from Sikh festivals in Birmingham
  • West Midlands Fire Service for permission to use an extract from the City Fire Brigade Subcommittee Report for March 24, 1931
  • Mrs A. Smithern for permission to use photographs of children at the Tilton Road School from 1955 to 1963

A Note on the Photographs
Please note that the photographs on this site have lost some of their image quality due to scanning. They have been used for illustrative purposes and should not be considered an accurate picture of the quality of the photographers' work.

Further Information Welcome
The Archives and Heritage Service would be very pleased to receive information which would document the development of Black communities in Birmingham and contribute to a more accurate historical record of the City in future years.

Please contact Archives and Heritage on 0121 303 4217 or e-mail archives.heritage@birmingham.gov.uk if you can help.

Connecting Histories project

The Connecting Histories project is undertaking further work to document the history of black and other communities in Birmingham.

The aim of the project is to give access to culturally diverse archives, including the collections of: photographers - Vanley Burke, George Hallett and the Ten:8 magazine photographic collective; Birmingham Hebrew Congregation; Charles Parker and Banner Theatre; Birmingham Anti-apartheid Movement; Indian Workers Association, and the Trades Union Resource Centre amonst others.
Black History in Birmingham Libraries
Features on Black History in Birmingham Menu
Black History Sources
Connecting Histories