Black people in Liverpool

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Liverpudlian Blacks
Regions with significant populations
Toxteth, Wavertree, Liverpool city centre, Bootle, Kirkdale, Walton
Related ethnic groups
Mixed British  • Black British  • Caribbeans

Liverpool-born Blacks are people of Black African ancestry born in the city of Liverpool. Liverpool has the United Kingdom's oldest and longest established black community, going back several generations.[1] Liverpool's black community is also unusual among those in the United Kingdom, as the Liverpool-born Black British community often constitute a category distinct from later African and Afro-Caribbean migrants.[2]


Dating to the 1730s, the Black community of Liverpool is Britain's oldest, with some Liverpudlians being able to trace their black heritage for as many as ten generations. The community dates back to the American Revolutionary War with Black Loyalists settling in the city. They were later followed by more African-American soldiers. The original African-American community was followed in the 19th and 20th centuries by sailors and soldiers from all over the West Indies and West Africa.[3] The black community experienced continued growth due to the location of Liverpool as a port city. Liverpool's port attracted many servicemen and seafarers, including African Americans, Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Belizeans, Guyanese, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Gambians, and others from all over the Caribbean and Africa.[4] Mostly settling in the Toxteth district, they joined already settled English, Irish, Welsh, Chinese and to a lesser extent Indians of seafarer or serviceman heritage. The Liverpudlian Black community became a Mixed-race community early on, with intermarriages taking place on a large scale among people with African roots, Whites and Asians. In turn most of today's Liverpudlian Blacks, even adding more recent Afro-Caribbean and African migrants, are product of a community that became a distinct multiracial community centuries ago. This process made the Liverpudlian Black community possibly the most distinct Black British community in the United Kingdom, creating a community that is native as well as unique to the country.[3] In 2009 the black community was estimated to make up 1.9% of Liverpool's population.[5] By 2011 the population of Liverpool was 2.8% black according to the 2011 census.

Social unrest[edit]

The Liverpool Black community experienced unrest early on, with race riots going back to 1919 when returned soldiers descended on the predominantly black/mixed-race areas of Toxteth.[6]

Infamous were the 1981 Toxteth riots, which was the direct result of long-standing tensions between the local police and the black community and that saw hundreds of police and public injured, one man dead, 500 arrested, 70 buildings destroyed and damage estimated at £11m.[7]

Notable Black Liverpudlians[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Costello, Ray (2001). Black Liverpool: The Early History of Britain's Oldest Black Community 1730-1918. Liverpool: Picton Press.


  1. ^ David Clay, ""The changing face of community participation: the Liverpool black experience", Participatory Learning and Action 58 (IIED), June 2008.
  2. ^ Diane Frist, Work and Community Among West African Migrant Workers Since the Nineteenth Century, Liverpool University Press, 1999, p. 188.
  3. ^ a b Ray Costello, "The Liverpool-born black community", Diverse Magazine, 14 May 2015.
  4. ^ Brown, Jacqueline Nassy (2009). Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail: Geographies of Race in Black Liverpool. Princeton University Press. pp. 32 & 93. ISBN 1400826411. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Office for National Statistics". National Statistics.
  6. ^ David Clay, "The changing face of community participation: the Liverpool black experience", in Tom Wakeford, Jasber Singh, Participatory Learning and Action 58, Towards Empowered Participation: Stories and Reflections (IIED), June 2008, p. 89.
  7. ^ "Toxteth Riots 1981 background - and how it all began", Liverpool Echo, 4 July 2011.