The History Girls: Eugene Bullard, Black Swallow of Death Catherine Johnson

Originally posted on The History Girls.

Eugene Bullard

Another WW1 story you might not have heard, that of  Eugene Bullard,  a young black man who found freedom and respect far from his homeland. I’d never heard of him until recently and  found there are heaps of parallels between his life and that of Mathew Henson,  a hero abroad but ignored in his native land. Bullard became the first ever black military pilot in 1916 and won the Croix de Guerre, but ended his life working as a lift operator in the Rockefeller Center.

Eugene Bullard stowed away on a ship and ended up in Aberdeen. He said he witnessed his father’s narrow escape from a lynching. He made his way to Glasgow and worked there for a while. Life outside segregated America held a whole load more opportunities for a young black man and he settled in Paris in 1913 and worked as a prize-fighter and sometimes…

via The History Girls: Eugene Bullard, Black Swallow of Death Catherine Johnson.

Host City Glasgow: signs of slavery and the imperial past are never far away

Originally posted on Host City Glasgow

The “second city of empire” was how this year’s host of the Commonwealth Games used to be well-known. Glasgow’s imperial past is hinted at by names littered throughout the city centre, in geographic pointers such as Virginia Street and Jamaica Street; and tributes to tobacco barons in the likes of Buchanan Street and Ingram Street.

A quarter of the world’s locomotives and a fifth of its ships were built on the banks of the river Clyde in the second half of the 19th century. These were used primarily to transport goods and people around the empire. The route from Glasgow to America was much shorter than the passage from London. As a result, goods such as tobacco, cotton and sugar were all transported and stored by the Clyde. More tobacco was transported through Glasgow than the rest of the United Kingdom combined. This added to the wealth of so-called “tobacco lords”. Beyond street names, the city is still littered…

Read more Host City Glasgow: signs of slavery and the imperial past are never far away.