Being a Black British descendent of the Windrush generation, black history and indeed the history of black people in Britain has always been a naturally inquisitive part of me. However I have always found that the formal education system has never satisfied my thirst for knowledge. While the factual sociological, political and economic experiences of Black people has been documented, I have always wanted to explore and try to understand the emotional, day to day life of people whose extraordinary history continues to have a profound effect of its descendents today.
By volunteering I have been privileged to see records which have enabled me to start this passionate quest. I have seen documents, letters and articles which have sometimes angered me, always intrigued me and never fail to move me. For example the numerous parish records that document the burial of black servants in England, like: Katheryn, "a blackmore servant to Mr Edward Farnham of Quorn, Leicestershire", buried on 11 January 1655, or the burial entry in Whitchurch, 1651 of "James Fosset, son of the wandering brown man".
I believe that this is an important project for many reasons but especially by gathering, recording and archiving these records we are remembering and honouring the lives of the many, who for so long, did not have a voice let alone a recognised part in British history and that is something that I am proud to be a part of.