Museum of Liverpool, courtesy of Wikipedia

Museum of Liverpool to explore role of First World War black families

Posted on on 02 November 2013
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The Museum of Liverpool has launched a project to research local Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) in Liverpool during the First World War.

Liverpool has one of the oldest Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Europe, in some cases reaching back ten generations.

There may have been as many as 20,000 BME men in the city at the time of conscription who were eligible to sign up, but curators at the Museum of Liverpool "have noticed that evidence of the men who fought is incredibly rare".

A project has been launched by the museum as a result, which will encourgae local BME families to "to research their First World War family histories, which may help gather memories and research that can be included in the Museum of Liverpool’s First World War exhibition plans".

Launch event

A launch event for the project was held at the museum on the 31st October 2013.

Karen O’Rourke, Curator of Social History said: “As a social history museum representing the people of Liverpool, we want to be representative of all the communities that exist in the city. We can’t tell every story at any one time, but we do recognise there is a big gap to fill in terms of our First World War collections".

“Not all the men from Liverpool who fought in the First World War were white, but we only have a handful of images showing men from a Black or Minority Ethnic background who signed up. There must be more photographs and memories of these men out there, so we want to know who they were, and be able to tell their stories and the stories of their families to our visitors".

There will be free workshops for members of the public to attend to research their family history on the following dates from 11am - 4pm:

6 November 2013 – Crawford House, Upper Warwick Street

23 November 2013 – The Florence Institute, Mill Street

4 December 2013 – Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre, Princes Road

25 January 2014 – Museum of Liverpool

Ms. O'Rourke continued, “The workshops are a great opportunity for people to pop along and have a chat with us. They might not know much about their family’s associations with the First World War, but we can certainly help in their research efforts, and in turn they might be able to help us”.

The BME project will form part of the Musuem of Liverpool's Home Front exhibition opening next summer to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

Source: Museum of Liverpool press release

Date of publication: 31/10/2013

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News