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Unveiling a plaque for Ignatius Sancho

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meg Munn recently unveiled a plaque on the wall of the Foreign Office, London, to commemorate Ignatius Sancho. He was born on a slave ship in 1729, subsequently brought to England where he worked as a slave for around twenty years. Following his liberty he set up a grocery shop in London in early-1774, in addition to this Sancho wrote and published Theory of Music and two plays.

 

As a financially-independent male householder living in Westminster, he qualified to vote in parliamentary elections of 1774 and 1780, and is the first known black person of African origin to have done so in Britain. At this time he also wrote letters and in newspapers, under his own name and via the pseudonym ’Africanus’. He died on 14 December 1780, and became the first African to be given an obituary in the British press. Two years later his letters were published, appearing as the two-volume The Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African, which sold very well.

Associated Photograph :

The plaque is high on the Foreign Office wall.

The plaque is high on the Foreign Office wall.


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