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Writing on the Wall have been presented with a number of original, significant documents covering the period 1919 to 1921, by community member and activist Joe Farrag. This archive relates to the position of black ex-servicemen, seamen and factory workers stranded or left destitute in Liverpool after the First World War. It includes letters and testimony from soldiers and merchant seamen from Africa and the Caribbean, who had fought for England on land and at sea during the Great War of 1914, or had worked in factories to support the war effort. The documents reveal a plight of daily racism and loss of jobs because of the boycott by white workers, a boycott often supported by the trades unions. This tension led to the race riots of 1919, which resulted in many serious assaults and attacks and the death of Charles Wootton, a black seaman murdered by a white mob. The unique nature of this material is that it contains the written word of those ex-servicemen, sailors and workers who were being confronted with verbal, physical and racial abuse on the streets of Liverpool, abuse which was compounded by institutional indifference or racism.



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Visiting the National Archives
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Thumbnail The National Archives are situated in the very pretty suburb of Kew, West London. On a sunny afternoon I headed there on the invite of Michael Mahoney who I met a few months ago when he visited Liverpool, his home town, to view the Great War to Race Riots Archive (in preparation for a planned...
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Plaque to Charles Wotten Unveiled
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Thumbnail Members of Liverpool’s diverse communities came together to unveil a plaque in commemoration of Charles Wotten, a 24-year-old seafarer who was murdered by an angry white mob during the race riots of 1991. The plaque was the idea of Historian and Broadcaster David Olusoga who travelled to various...
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