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100 Great Black Britons

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Major DH conference to be held on 29 October, 2007


2007 is the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the British Empire. On 22 January 2007, the Prime Minister hosted a reception for grassroots groups involved in the bicentenary and announced a package of events to commemorate the Bicentenary, centred on the following themes:

Raising awareness of the slave trade and its abolition Commemorating those who suffered and died, and those who struggled for abolition Focusing on the legacy of slavery and on contemporary injustice and inequality, and in particular what the Government and its partners are doing to: Overcome poverty and injustice and build civil society on the African continent and in the Caribbean, with particular emphasis on improving access to education Tackle inequality and discrimination in the UK Address contemporary forms of slavery such as people trafficking As part of this programme of activity, DH committed to hold two events:

2 April 2007: Launch of "Many Rivers to Cross - The History of the Caribbean Contribution to the NHS - 1948-1969"

29 October 2007: Conference on black and minority ethnic communities and heath inequalities (during black history month). This is in direct response to the Deputy PM's request for "legacy" events marking the bicentennial. Speakers will talk about how internationally the slave trade played a part in creating health inequalities in black and minority ethnic communities today i.e. the socioeconomic trap that people found themselves in that has proven difficult to break out of over the generations. (The legacy of slavery and the health of black communities).

100 Great Black Britons - Alphabetical Listing


  • Diane Abbott, MP
  • Ira Aldridge
  • Dounne Alexander
  • Baroness Valerie Amos
  • Viv Anderson
  • Joan Armatrading
  • John Archer


  • Francis Barber
  • John Barnes
  • Dame Jocelyn Barrow
  • Dame Shirley Bassey
  • Brendan Batson
  • Floella Benjamin
  • Nigel Benn/Chris Eubanks
  • Patrick Berry
  • Oswald Boateng
  • Paul Boateng
  • Nana Bonsu/Len Garrison - George Bridgetower
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Yvonne Brewster
  • Errol Brown
  • Frank Bruno


  • Queen Charlotte
  • David Chase
  • Linford Christie
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
  • Lord Leary Constantine
  • John Conteh
  • William Cuffay
  • Ottobah Cuguano


  • Craig David
  • Desree
  • Desmond Douglas
  • Niger Val Dub
  • Ms Dynamite


  • John Edmonstone
  • Olaudah Equiano


  • Mike Fuller


  • Gabrielle/Naomi Campbell
  • Goldie
  • Bernie Grant
  • Jeremy Guscott/Chris Offill


  • Professor Stuart Hall
  • Elery Hanley
  • Lenny Henry
  • Peter Herbert
  • Baroness Roselind Howells


  • Paul Ince/Paul McGrath


  • Colin Jackson
  • Lee Jasper
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson
  • Claudia Jones


  • Janet Kay/Carol Thompson
  • Kanya King/Al Hamilton
  • Oona King/Jennette Arnold
  • Beverly Knight


  • Cleo Laine
  • David Lammy
  • Stephen Lawrence
  • Angie Le Mar
  • Denise Lewis
  • Lennox Lewis
  • George of Lydda
  • Phil Lynot


  • Sir Trevor Macdonald
  • Val Mccalla
  • Dr Harold Moody
  • Bill Morris


  • Martin Offiah
  • Ben Okri
  • Bruce Oldfield
  • Herman Ousley


  • Mica Paris
  • Queen Phillipa
  • Trevor Phillips
  • Courtney Pine
  • Lord David Pitt
  • Mary Prince



  • Lord John Taylor
  • Daley Thompson
  • Randolph Turpin/Julius Soubise


  • Rudolph Walker
  • Robert Wedderburn
  • Arthur Wharton/Andrew Watson
  • Willard White
  • Bishop Wilfred Wood/Dr OA Lyseight
  • Henry Sylvester Williams
  • Ian Wright


  • Benjamin Zephaniah

Media Centre Keep up to date with media stories,press release, and online reports of the 100 Great Black Briton Campaign.

Attached to--

Not on the 100

  • Quobna Ottabah Cugoano, usually known by the shorter form Ottabah Cugoano, was born in present-day Ghana in the 1750s. Kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1770, at the age of 13. He worked in chain gangs on plantations in Granada. A few months after Lord Mansfield handed down his judgement in the Somerset case, Cugoano arrived in England. He was baptised as 'John Stuart' in 1773, a name he continued to use over the next fifteen years, during which time he worked as a servant to the artist Richard Cosway. While working for Cosway he wrote his Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Commerce of the Human Species, it was published in 1787. In London, he was a friend of Olaudah Equiano, and a neighbour of Ignatius Sancho. After publishing his work, he dropped out of the historical record, and we do not know where, when, or how he died. His work; part autobiography, part political treatise, and part Christian exegesis, has an enduring legacy. Despite being employed by one of the most famous artists of his day, no image of Cugoano survives.
  • Mary Prince 1788-1828.
  • Julius Soubise was another interesting and important character of the eighteenth century. He came to England from the West Indies, the son of a Jamaican slave carried by Captain Stair Douglas of the Royal Navy. Catherine Hyde, the Duchess of Queensberry met Soubise and persuaded the Captain to part with him as she found the boy extremely Charming and likable.

He was given to her like a pet dog or a cat would have been.
The young Soubise was liked by the Staff of The Queensberry Household too. They called him 'The young Othello'. Soubise was taught to Fence (the Queensberrys were the famous writers of the rules for boxing, known as the Marquis of Queensberry rules) and ride, he soon became extremely notorious amongst the upper classes. Both the men and the women and appeared to indulge in all kinds of excesses and fancies. Flattered by the attention, Soubise exaggerated his social standing and began to pass himself off as the son of an African King. He was in correspondence with Ignatius Sancho who warned him to give up his womanising and wild behaviour.

He became an assistant at the riding and Fencing School where he again was extremely popular. He played the violin, and read poetry. Julius accompanied his Trainer’s son to Eton and Windsor where he led a double life, as an assistant and the ‘gay’ darling of Society.

However, Soubise's lavish lifestyle was noticed and he and the Duchess were subject to satire in the press. Later, or perhaps as a result of the mounting criticism he was accused of raping a servant girl, and he was sent to India. There was a genuine fear he might be attacked or even lynched. He established a riding School in Bengal and trained private students. He was later paid by the British government to ‘break horses,’ he became a renowned expert and it was here that he met his demise; he was killed in India breaking in a troublesome Horse.

  • Moses Roper, (c. 1815 – 15 April 1891) was a mulatto slave who wrote one of the major early books about life as a slave in the United States — Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper from American Slavery.
  • Adelaide Hall
  • Henry Sylvester Williams