Leaders in the Community: George Africanus

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About these Resources

This pack contains information and excerpts on the life and work of George Africanus – an 18th Century enslaved person who became Nottingham’s first black entrepreneur.

Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, around 1763, he was enslaved and brought to England in 1766. George Africanus and his wife, Esther Shaw established an employment agency, Africanus’ Register of Servants that was run by the family for over 70 years. As a freeholder, he was also able to vote and was a ‘special constable’ in Nottingham City’s Watch. Africanus’ life and his exceptional achievements as a black entrepreneur in a time when transatlantic slavery existed, make his story one of immense relevance to Nottingham and Britain’s history.

This resource forms an integral part of highlighting the contributions of Black people in the development of Nottingham. This not only promotes a more holistic narrative of who are the heroes of Nottingham but also allow ethnic minority students to see themselves positively represented in the curriculum.

Due to the sensitive nature of this topic and racially-sensitive terminologies contained in some of the quotations, teachers should exercise caution when relaying this information to students. Care has been taken to include only those which are necessary for the purpose of explaining slavery and race’. Please refer to the glossary for an explanation of these. For a version that contains all terms, which includes the most sensitive, these can be requested by email from our learning & education team at access.artefacts@nottinghamcity.gov.uk.

Many thanks to the University of Nottingham for access to these resources.

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