LETTER : Long history of British blacks

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From Ms Linda Bellos

Sir: Geoffrey Littlejohns (letter, 7 August) makes an error in assuming that the history of black settlement before the Fifties and Sixties is spurious and invented. What of William Cuffey active as a Chartist, Mary Seacole who was with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea or John Archer a councillor for Battersea in the Twenties, to name but three black people before that time.

Mr Littlejohns ought to know that black people come in various shades, but more importantly many black people prefer to be seen not only in terms of the colour of our skins but the history and heritage that is ours as people of African origin. This includes a history of presence in Britain arising to a great extent from enslavement. We do not need spurious history but we do need history with context and substance. The record and reputation of Africans needs to be repaired as does the understanding of men like Geoffrey Littlejohns.

Yours faithfully,

Linda Bellos

Africa Reparations Movement (UK) Committee

London N17

7 August