PAST Thematic Overview: Modern Black History
The National Archives collection spans 1,000 years. Throughout this period, there has been a Black presence in Britain, and in the collection. Colonial expansion from the 16th century onwards and global migration have only increased the number and richness of sources for the study of Black history within The National Archives. This half-day online workshop will provide an overview of the most useful sources and methods for research in this area.

The records held by The National Archives were created from the perspective of the state and empire – they bear witness to injustice, racism, colonial violence; but also to the long and continued fight for self-determination and racial equality. However, researching Black history within The National Archives is not intuitive – evidence is scattered across the records of dozens of different government departments and described in archaic, oblique and often offensive terms. Recovering the lives, voices and agency of Black people within records created by the state is also challenging.

This workshop will provide researchers with the skills to begin tackling these challenges. It will offer:

An overview of the principal sources for Black British history. The workshop will give you an insight into the range of sources available for research in this area and offer advice from our specialists on how to approach the archive thematically.

Case studies on specific topics and records that facilitate the study of Black British history in the archive. We will explore case studies focusing on protest movements, surveillance and the Mangrove Nine (1970), and resistance to nineteenth century colonialism in the British Caribbean.

By the end of the workshop, attendees will be equipped with the skills to navigate government archives, and the strategies to locate sources for the study of Black British history.


Welcome and introductions
Researching Black British history at The National Archives: an overview
Protest movements and surveillance, the Mangrove Nine, 1970
Resistance, rebellion, and reprisal in the nineteenth-century British Caribbean

Date: 16 April 2024, 14:00 (Tuesday, 0th week, Trinity 2024)
Venue: ONLINE only
Speaker: Various Speakers
Organiser: The National Archives
Part of: The National Archives online research training
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Belinda Clark