Black people have played an important role in helping the United Kingdom become the diverse and developed nation it is today. In fact, the country is home to Europe’s oldest Black community, in the city of Liverpool. 

According to National Museums Liverpool, the history of people of African descent settling in Liverpool dates back to the 1700s. Black settlers consisted of sailors, formerly enslaved individuals and the children of African rulers who came to the city to study.

Since then, Black Liverpudlians have contributed to the growth and culture of the city in many ways. From sports and music to politics and activism, their accomplishments are varied.

Museums Highlighting Liverpool’s Black History

Travelers looking to learn more about Liverpool’s Black history should make the Museum of Liverpool their first stop. Exploring the Liverpool Black Community trail provides historical insight into the lives of the city’s Black population over the years. Exhibits showcase artifacts and memorabilia related to the stories of their achievements, racism and discrimination the community faced and how they fought back against these institutions.

Liverpool played a significant role in the transatlantic slave trade. Its involvement in the trade brought immense wealth and contributed to the growth of the city as a trading hub. It was one of Britain’s major ports, thus there is a great deal of history related to the city’s position as such.

Liverpool’s role in the slave trade has been the subject of historical scrutiny and debate. Today, there are ongoing discussions and efforts to acknowledge and address this part of the city’s history. Various organizations and institutions are working towards raising awareness and promoting education about Liverpool’s involvement in the slave trade.

One place visitors can explore the details of this dark past is at the International Slavery Museum. The museum’s Transatlantic Slavery collection contains objects that chronicle Liverpool’s role in the trade. The Diaspora collection centers around the population and its identity, culture and experiences.

Liverpool Black History Tours

LiverpoolGO offers guided tours highlighting the history of the slave trade in Liverpool. Tours take visitors along the original seven streets of Liverpool to sites involved in the everyday operations of the horrific trade. Tourists also have the opportunity to explore the estates and residences of the affluent. These homes serve as a vivid reminder of just how much of what exists today was created through ill-gotten wealth made on the backs of Black people through forced labor.

Travel Thru History has also put together a self-guided Liverpool Black history walking tour for tourists who would like to explore various sites and buildings around the city at their own pace.

Shopping Black in Liverpool

While in town, be sure to honor the legacy of Black Liverpudlians by supporting its Black-owned businesses. There are numerous restaurants you can patronize offering a variety of diverse cuisines. For Caribbean fare, check out Bala B’s Soul Food Kitchen or Eat Up Gud. Baltic Triangle’s Coffee and Fandisha is a favorite go-to spot for a fresh, hot cup of joe. The cafe also serves breakfast, sandwiches, pastries and more. Craving rum punch? Mo’Bay Shack is the place to go for your fruity, tropical fix.    

For unique, sustainable clothing and gifts, stop by the Freedom of Ztyle boutique. If you need your hair laid, visit Ebony Hair Salon or Baby Dolls Hair & Beauty, both of which specialize in ethnic hair. The former does braids, weaves and natural hairstyles while the latter offers hair care as well as brows, waxing and other beauty services. Brothers in need of a cut can check out Yemi’s Barbershop on Smithdown Road.