Black people have lived in Britain since the Roman occupation over 1000 years ago. The first black people in England were not victims and they contributed far more to English history than they are usually given credit for. The shameful and barbaric British slave trade did not begin until after Queen Elizabeth the first’s death and the black men and women living in England before then were totally free.
This cannot be said for other kingdoms in Europe and by 1502 the Spanish were transporting black slaves from Africa to South America for profit. Some of these slave ships were intercepted and raided by English Privateers (Pirates) and the slaves were brought to England and freed. According to historian David Olusoga on BBC Bitesize, Africans brought to England were accepted and lead very normal lives. Some were employed by merchants, seamstresses, beer brewers, silk and needle makers. They lived as far out of London as Suffolk working in the cloth trade which was the most important English trade at that time. The records show that Black Christians were baptised, married and buried in English churches.