Selected resources for Black History
Have a look at some of our books related to Black History. All of the titles are available in our RGU Library collection. You can view ebooks online where available, or borrow print copies whenever you would like. Just click on the title of the book and you will be taken to the book page on our LibrarySearch tool.
We also have a Black History Month reading list which includes other online resources and books held elsewhere, such as in our local public libraries.
The following websites give further information and sources relating to Black history, allyship and contemporary issues relating to race and equality.
- Black History Month: The official website for Black History Month.
- Black History Month Scotland: The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights works to eliminate racial discrimination and harassment and to promote racial justice across Scotland.
- Black Lives Matter: A UK based group who campaign to send out a persistent message, loud and clear, that it is unacceptable to treat Black people differently to anyone else.
- Guide to allyship: An open source starter guide to help you become a more thoughtful and effective ally.
- 100 great Black Britons: A celebration of the lives, stories and contribution of Black British people.
- Black Cultural Archives: The website of the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.
- The V&A Black Heritage: The V&A holds a variety of material relating to Black heritage and culture, including fashion, photography and performance.
- The Anti-racist Educator: Based in Scotland, the Anti-Racist Educator is a collective of educational stakeholders - including students, teachers, parents, academics and activists – working towards building an education system that is equitable, free from racial injustice and critically engaged with issues of power, identity and privilege.
- gal-dem: An online and print publication committed to sharing perspectives from women and non-binary people of colour.
- Local BHM Events: Find local events and listings for Black History Month in Aberdeen.
Local Black historical figures
Here are some notable Black figures with connections to Aberdeen and the local area.
Christopher James Davis
Doctor and Aberdeen graduate, Christopher James Davis, gained a great reputation for medical care, despite his life being tragically cut short at the age of only 28.
Originally from Barbados, Davis came to Aberdeen to study for a medical degree. Following his graduation, he moved to the Sedan region of France where he used his skills as a doctor to assist both soldiers and impoverished civilians who were suffering due to the Franco-Prussian War. Sadly, he contracted smallpox there and died, but not before making a huge impression on the patients in his care, as well as local and military leaders. He received a military funeral headed by the Mayor of Sedan and a glowing eulogy in the Lancet medical journal.
You can read more about his fascinating life in this article by Jo Milne from the University of Aberdeen.
In 1917, Eugene Bullard became the first Black American military pilot, gaining the nickname 'The Black Swallow'.
Born in Columbus, Georgia, Bullard headed for Europe aged 17 in a bid to escape the racism he faced in his homeland. He stowed away on a German ship, the Marta Russ, arriving in Aberdeen in 1912. He subsequently moved through Scotland, then to London, and finally to France where he joined the French Foreign Legion after the outbreak of World War I. After being injured at the Battle of Verdun, he trained as a pilot for the French Air Service.
Bullard also served during World War II, and worked in various civilian roles during peacetime in France and the USA, including as a boxer, fitness trainer, jazz drummer, and nightclub manager. He became friends with various well-known jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong, but suffered racist attacks and discrimination when he returned to live in the USA. He ended his life in relative obscurity, working as an elevator operator in the Rockefeller Center.
You can find further sources about Bullard's life on the Internet Archive.
Moroccan footballer Hicham Zerouali quickly became a fan-favourite when he joined Aberdeen Football Club in 1999.
Zerouali was nicknamed 'Zero' by fans, and for a time he wore the number 0 on his shirt, one of the only players to have done this. He scored several impressive goals, helping to take Aberdeen through to the finals of both the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Cup in 2000. He went on to captain the Moroccan national football team but tragically had a fatal car accident in 2004.
Visit the Aberdeen FC website for further details of his time with the club.