Black Victorians: History Claims We’ve Only Ever Been Slaves

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Sara Forbes Bonetta Source: Camille Silvy / Getty

The Black Victorians. Who were they? And why haven’t we heard more about them? Similar to the legend that was Dido Elizabeth Belle, a biracial aristocrat (unearthed by filmmaker Amma Asante, who immortalized her in Belle), the Black Victorians are a virtually forgotten people.

Mainstream history and entertainment inundates us with the common knowledge that Black and brown people were enslaved in America–and even in England–but how beautiful it is that we get to view images and hear stories of noble Black women and men? The closest we’ve seen to a movement like that was through the influential Harlem Renaissance. And yet last September at London’s Autograph ABP, an exhibit titled the Black Chronicles II, we got to see more photos and information appear about this little-known and intriguing era of global Black history.

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