1919 Race Riots project

Group working session at Glamorgan Archives with students from Fitzalan High School.

Several years in the making, the 1919 Race Riots Project helped mark the 100th anniversary of this important moment in history where for the first time many in Britain became aware of the presence of a black population living in the UK.

The 1919 Race Riots Project marked the anniversary with displays in Liverpool and Cardiff – the two cities most impacted by the rioting – alongside school workshops. The project was achieved in collaboration with Writing on the Wall (WoW), Liverpool Record Office, and Glamorgan Archives.

Regional outreach

Raising awareness of the 1919 ‘Race Riots’ in Liverpool

The 1919 race riots were the first time many in Britain became aware of the presence of a black population living in the UK, even including those who had lived and worked here for many years and had served Britain during the war.

With the centenary of the riots in Liverpool approaching, the Outreach Team at The National Archives, Writing on the Wall (WoW), a creative arts organisation based in Toxteth, Liverpool, and Liverpool Record Office got together to curate an exhibition of both local and national documents. The exhibition was launched on 2 May 2019 and attended by numerous local dignitaries including Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Christine Banks, and Councillor Anna Rothery, lead for Equalities in Liverpool City Council.

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Collection of ‘zines created by the students from Fitzalan High School, using James Gillespie’s life story as their inspiration.

From Cardiff to the Caribbean: The 1919 Race Riots

Led by the Outreach Team at The National Archives and several years in the making, the 1919 Race Riots Project is helping to mark the 100th anniversary with displays in Liverpool and Cardiff – the two cities most impacted by the rioting. The riots were the first time that many people became aware of the presence of a black and minority ethnic population living in the UK.

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Talk

Sara Griffiths and Iqbal Singh from the Outreach team at The National Archives go through some records that relate to the 1919 Race Riots in Cardiff and elsewhere.

This presentation is part of Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference 2021, held virtually. Cardiff, UK, March 30-April 1, 2021.

A Level resource

Memorial plaque with the text 'Victim of the Liverpool Race Riots CHARLES WOTTEN Born Bermuda 1895 Died in these water 5 June 1919'

Explore our new A Level resource about the 1919 race riots, which features many interesting documents from this tumultuous period.

Explore the learning resource

Related resources

Black Poppies: Britain’s black community and the Great War

Stephen Bourne talks about his latest book, Black Poppies, published by The History Press to coincide with the centenary of the First World War. Black Poppies explores the military and civilian wartime experiences of Britain’s black community, from the trenches to the music halls. Poignantly, it concludes by examining the anti-black ‘race riots’ of 1919. In cities such as Cardiff and Liverpool, black citizens came under attack from returning white soldiers who resented their presence, in spite of what they and their families had done for Britain during the war.

External links