The Missing Chapter: Black Chronicles Exhibition
Saturday & Sunday, The Eliot Room, British Library Knowledge Centre
Over the festival weekend, you’ll have the chance to discover hidden histories and writing inspiration with a special display of ‘Exhibition in a Box’ by Autograph ABP, part of The Missing Chapter: Black Chronicles programme.
The Photographic Portraits in The Missing Chapter: Black Chronicles offer a unique snapshot of black lives and migrant experiences during the decades following the birth of photography in 1839. They represent a diverse range of people, from visiting performers, politicians, dignitaries, servicemen and women, royalty and missionaries, to known personalities and many as yet unidentified individuals living and working in Britain at the time. Their collective presence bears direct witness to the nation’s colonial and imperial history, and the expansion of the British Empire during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
These portraits highlight an important and complex black presence in Britain before 1948, a watershed moment often cited as the beginning of the emergence of a multicultural modern British society after the SS Empire Windrush brought the first large group of West Indian migrants to Britain. Produced in commercial studios during the latter half of the nineteenth century, many lay buried deep within the archives for decades – unseen for more than 125 years.