How do you find hidden stories from Britain's black history?

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1. Rediscovering histories

The history of Black Britain does not begin with slavery: in fact, we have evidence of Africans living and working in this country dating back to Roman Britain.

From the Battle of Trafalgar to the First and Second World Wars, black people have played an integral role in the most significant moments in our national story. In recent decades, academics, researchers and community groups have begun uncovering a history that has, for too long remained untold: how black Britons shaped the UK's culture and society from its earliest times.

If you want to learn more about the history of black Britain, this guide will help you begin your own research. Whether it's uncovering surprising stories, learning more about your family heritage or joining a local community group - we have some hints and tips to help get your project underway.

2. CLICK: Stories to inspire you

A great research project can begin with a subject that inspires you. Click below for stories and ideas to help you start your journey.

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3. WATCH: See what's possible

David met a community group in Liverpool who received money from the Heritage Lottery Fund to uncover the stories of black ex-servicemen after World War One. Watch the clip to find out more about their exciting project.

Black And British: A Forgotten History (BBC Two, 2016)

Writing on the Wall have made this project available on their website. Explore the archive by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

4. CLICK: Black history in your region

Click on the labels to uncover stories about black history in your area.

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5. Now start searching

Here are just a few of the ways you can begin your research into the history of black Britain.

Visit the Black Cultural Archives

The BCA’s mission is to collect and curate the heritage and history of black people in the UK. Their collection spans three centuries, with a particular focus on the 20th century to the present day. They can put you in touch with existing projects – or help you if you have documents or artefacts that you’d like to preserve.

Explore your local library

Publications like The League of Coloured People's The Keys or The West Indian Gazette offer an insight into stories which affected the black community but were ignored by the mainstream media. The British Library and National Archives have online collections available to view and many local libraries hold collections you can explore.

Find your local historical society

Get in touch with your local council to find out more about groups and projects in your area. There are hundreds of historical societies across the country, including those devoted to documenting and preserving the history of black communities.

Apply for funding

The Heritage Lottery Fund support projects which hope to uncover new historical material, make a collection accessible to the public and engage communities in creative ways. Visit their website to find out more and how to submit an application.

Explore your family history

Tracing African-Caribbean ancestry past the 1840s can be challenging. People born into slavery did not have legal surnames and the circumstances of their birth can make it difficult to identify their parents. However, the National Archives hold wills and documents which contain information regarding emancipated people living in Britain. You can also contact local archives in the Caribbean for court, manumission, slave records and more. Many of these important resources are digitised and available to view online.

Click the link below for more resources to help you with your research.