Black Poor was the name given to residents of England who were of Black ancestry in the 18th century. Black Poor had diverse origins. The core of the community was the result of Atlantic slave trade. Another factor was the presence of Black sailors in both merchant ships and navy. A wave to further bolster Black Poor community was the arrival of Black Loyalists especially after 1781. By those years, the Black Poor became a common sight on the streets of London.

Most of the Black Poor lived in impoverished East End parishes, though they were also present in ports like Liverpool and Bristol. Although they were primarily employed at menial urban jobs, the community also had prominent members like Ignatius Sancho. Because male population far outnumbered that of women among the community, Black Poor usually developed relationships with local women, many marrying them.

Immigration to Sierra LeoneEdit

In 1786, Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor was founded. The primal aim of the Committee was to transfer the Black Poor to Sierra Leone. By the end of October 1786, three transport ships were commissioned and docked at Deptford.

The applicants for the settlement were to sign an agreement, agreeing to the condition that they would retain the status of British subjects, to be defended by the Royal Navy. They were then given a document granting the citizenship of Sierra Leone.

On April 9, 1787 the ships left Portsmouth with about 280 Black men, 70 White women, and 40 Black women. They were accompanied by some English tradesmen. White women were most likely the wives and girlfriends of Black men but the tradition puts it that they were prostitutes of Deptford who were tricked with free liquor to embark. [1] [2] [3]

The ones that could finish the voyage arrived off the shore of Sierra Leone on May 15 1787.


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