If you have visited the library recently you may have noticed the themed books on view. You will find several relevant displays – in the children’s area, biography, history, local history and on the table near the Information Corner.

Some subjects are of such significance they must be acknowledged. One such topic is Black History Month which runs throughout October. 

There are many stories to be told, and we have many books which explore different aspects. Here we highlight two books with local significance.

Hidden Chains: The Slavery Business and North East England by John Charlton (2008)

The book reveals the links between some of the North East’s wealthiest, most prominent families and the slavery on plantations of the New World.

It also tells the story of ordinary people from Northumberland, Durham and Tyneside who were caught up in the slavery business. Some were bonded labourers; others crossed the Atlantic on ships carrying human cargo, returning with tobacco, sugar, rum and other profitable goods.

At the same time the North East’s men and women were playing a determined part in the anti-slavery movement and their vital contribution to abolition is also explored. 

Martin Luther King: In Newcastle Upon Tyne By Brian Ward (2017)

Described as ‘the most detailed historical account of race relations in the North East yet written’, this book tells of Martin Luther King’s visit to the city in 1967 when he was awarded an honorary degree by Newcastle University.

The book places King’s visit within the history of links between the African American freedom struggle and the North East. It not only shows how King was one of many distinguished African American visitors to the region, but also explains how those connections influenced the development of race relations in our area.

Help us add to our collection

Marking Black History Month provides an opportunity to reconfirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion. If you have suggestions of other books we should acquire which complement these values, please let us know.