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Pero Jones and Fanny Coker

Gretchen Gerzina explores the story of two enslaved people who were brought from the West Indies to Bristol and lived there for the rest of their lives.

Professor Gretchen Gerzina explores a largely unknown past - the lives of black people who settled in Britain in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

She reveals a startling paradox - although Britain was at the heart of a thriving slave trade, it was still possible for many black people to live here in freedom and prosperity. A few even made it to the very top of fashionable society.

But there were others who were brought over by slave-owners from the West Indies and who were never free, despite living for the rest of their lives in Glasgow or Bristol or London. Some took the law into their own hands, and managed to free themselves, others went further and advocated violent revolution. Free or unfree, they all saw Britain as a place of opportunity that could become a home.

Over two weeks, Professor Gerzina travels across Britain and talks to historians, unearthing new evidence about Britain's black past. From a country estate in Chepstow, via the docks of Liverpool, to grand houses in London and Bristol, she evokes the daily texture of black people's lives, using first-hand accounts from letters and autobiographies.

In the third programme in the series, Gretchen Gerzina explores the story of two enslaved people who were brought from the West Indies to Bristol and lived there for the rest of their lives. Recorded on location in the Georgian House Museum in Bristol.

With historians Professor Madge Dresser and Dr Christine Eickelman.

The music in this series is by the 18th century composer Ignatius Sancho, and performed by the Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra.

Readers: Cathy Tyson, Jonathan Keeble
Producer: Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

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15 minutes

Last on

Wed 5 Oct 2016 13:45