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Images capture pioneering African-Americans of the 1800s

From a Medal of Honor soldier to a Hall of Fame boxer and Queen Victoria’s goddaughter, these images capture some of the 19th century’s most distinguished Americans, Britons and Australians of African origin.

One striking portrait shows Buffalo Soldier Corporal Isaiah Mays displaying his Medal of Honour awarded to him after his bravery under fire when a paymaster was ambushed and robbed in Arizona in 1889.

Another captures Australian boxer Peter Jackson who won the Australian heavyweight title in 1886 by knocking out Tom Lees in the 30th round for which was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Others portraits capture Nellie Louise Franklin, the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Oregon, and Selika Lazevski, a Parisian horsewoman famed for her skills in dressage.

Pictures from Britain include an image of Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies, a West African Yoruba girl who was liberated from slavery by Queen Victoria and became the monarch’s goddaughter.

She appears alongside Ethiopian Prince Alamayou who was orphaned at the age of seven, brought to England by army officer Sir Robert Napier and adopted by an explorer before he died from a viral infection aged just 18.

The photos have been resurrected alongside others showing everyday Americans and Britons including one of a Georgia family sitting a meadow and of Pablo Fanque, the first black circus owner in Britain. 

Australian boxer Peter Jackson

One striking portrait shows Buffalo Soldier Corporal Isaiah Mays (left) displaying his Medal of Honour awarded to him after his bravery under fire when a paymaster was ambushed and robbed in Arizona in 1889. The robbery of $28,000 worth of gold and silver coins happened when Major Joseph Wham was transporting a payroll from Fort Grant, Arizona Territory to Fort Thomas when he and his escort of eleven Buffalo Soldiers were ambushed. Another striking image captures Australian boxer Peter Jackson (right) who won the Australian heavyweight title in 1886 by knocking out Tom Lees in the 30th round

Pablo Fanque

Caesar, the last slave owned in New York state, pictured here in 1851

Left: Pablo Fanque, the first black circus owner in Britain. Pablo was born in Norwich and rose from obscurity to own the foremost circus in Britain. His circus was the most popular in Victorian Britain for 30 years, a period that is regarded as the golden age of the circus. Right: Caesar, the last slave owned in New York state. Born in 1737, Caesar served several generations of masters on the Rensselaer Nicoll estate near Albany. At the age of 80, he was allowed to retire, and remained with the Nicoll family until his death in 1852

This striking image taken in 1867 shows The Fisk Jubilee singers, an African-American a cappella ensemble who toured the world. The original group toured along the Underground Railroad path in the United States, as well as performing in England and Europe. In 2002 the Library of Congress honored their 1909 recording of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by adding it in the United States National Recording Registry. The group was awarded a National Medal of Arts in 2008

This striking image taken in 1867 shows The Fisk Jubilee singers, an African-American a cappella ensemble who toured the world. The original group toured along the Underground Railroad path in the United States, as well as performing in England and Europe. In 2002 the Library of Congress honored their 1909 recording of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by adding it in the United States National Recording Registry. The group was awarded a National Medal of Arts in 2008

Nellie Louise Franklin

Selika Lazevski

Others portraits capture Nellie Louise Franklin (left), the First African American Woman to Graduate from the University of Oregon, and Selika Lazevski (right), a Parisian horsewoman famed for her skills in dressage. She rode side saddle in circuses and hippodromes, and were widely respected for their skills as horsewomen

Left: Prince Alamayou on the Isle of Wight, 1868

Prince Alemayehu before his death aged 18 of a viral infection which led to pleurisy

Ethiopian Prince Alamayou who was orphaned at the age of seven, brought to England by captain Tristram Speedy. In 1878 he joined the officers’ training school at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, but he was not happy there and the following year went to Far Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, to stay with his old tutor Cyril Ransome. Left: Prince Alamayou on the Isle of Wight, 1868. Right: Prince Alemayehu before his death aged 18 of a viral infection which led to pleurisy

This photo shows the Florida State Normal and Industrial School class of 1904. At the time, the Tallahassee college was known as the Florida State Normal and Industrial School for Colored Students. The institution is now known as the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. It has an endowment of $113.1 million

This photo shows the Florida State Normal and Industrial School class of 1904. At the time, the Tallahassee college was known as the Florida State Normal and Industrial School for Colored Students. The institution is now known as the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. It has an endowment of $113.1 million

The photos have been resurrected alongside others showing everyday Americans and Britons including one of a Georgia family sitting a meadow (pictured). This image shows a family posing for the camera while sitting on the grass. One of the daughters can be seen standing behind her father with her hands on his shoulders

The photos have been resurrected alongside others showing everyday Americans and Britons including one of a Georgia family sitting a meadow (pictured). This image shows a family posing for the camera while sitting on the grass. One of the daughters can be seen standing behind her father with her hands on his shoulders

An African-American girl holds an illustration book as she looks away from the camera

A woman holds a small book as she looks at the camera without smiling

Left: An African-American girl holds an illustration book as she looks away from the camera with one finger on her face. Right: A woman holds a small book as she looks at the camera without smiling 

This image take around 1848 shows an woman sitting down in a dress while holding flowers in one hand

This portrait of a bearded man sitting in a chair in a three-piece suit is believed to have been taken around 1852

Left: This image take around 1848 shows an woman sitting down in a dress while holding flowers in one hand. Right: This portrait of a bearded man sitting in a chair in a three-piece suit is believed to have been taken around 1852

A woman from Tallahassee, Florida, photographed circa 1895

An unidentified woman photographed in Liverpool city centre in Britain, in the 1880s

Left: A woman from Tallahassee, Florida, photographed circa 1895. Right: An unidentified woman photographed in Liverpool city centre in Britain, in the 1880s

An American woman holds a baby while looking past the camera in a photo taken circa 1850

This image shows a mother and daughter wearing white dresses. The woman looks as the camera while the girl stands next to her

Left: An American woman holds a baby while looking past the camera in a photo taken circa 1850. Right: This image shows a mother and daughter wearing white dresses. The woman looks as the camera while the girl stands next to her

 

 

 



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