Thanks to Tony T for passing on the information about this resource:
“The First Black Britons” is a DVD resource on the West India Regiment (made for BBC TV in 2005)
A link to the trailer is posted below (and is available to view on Vimeo.com via: http://vimeo.com/37661768)
‘The First Black Britons’ can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk or from our
distributor’s website www.beckmanndirect.com.
“Originally broadcast on BBC Television, “The First Black Britons” presents a
wealth of information and historical discovery, delivered (to-camera) in a
warm and ‘to-the-point’ style. Our film reveals the incredible hidden
history of thousands of African men (11,000 by the year 1800), lifted from
slavery to lead a journey to citizenship in the New World – as equals of
white comrades in arms. They fought in the Napoleonic Wars as the West
India Regiment (1795-1927).
“One of Britain’s leading TV comedy actors, Gary Beadle presents our story
as a journey of discovery in Barbados, Jamaica, Liverpool, London and
Windsor. Illustrated by a wealth of photographs and pictures, this dramatic
and compelling story is ‘brought to life’ by actors in scenes based on the
actual quotes of Prime Minister William Pitt (the younger), his friend,
William Wilberforce, Queen Victoria, and, the very soldiers who shaped
attitudes to race and identity at each turn of the infamous triangular
Slave Trade – involving Britain, West Africa and the Americas.
“The viewer discovers tourist attractions, social and political history,
culture and heritage. 59-minutes are divided into 3 x 18-minute stories,
structured as follows:
Story 1. ‘Slaves in Redcoats’:
How the government of abolitionist Prime Minister, William Pitt (the
younger) secretly purchased a slave-army to defeat French and Napoleonic
forces in the Americas.
Story 2. ‘The Queen’s Gentlemen’:
How Britain’s first African army won the personal favour of Queen
Victoria, and carved a unique status as a new class of citizen – ‘Black
Story 3. ‘The Prodigals’ Return’:
How West India Regiment soldiers – ‘the sons of slaves’ – exacted bloody
revenge on the ‘Chiefdoms’ that sold them into captivity, returning to the
infamous slave forts of West Africa to win 2 Victoria Cross medals, in a
‘Action Adventure’ of imperial conquest.
For further details of the programme do please have a look at our website:
Tony T and Rebecca Goldstone
Sweet Patootee Ltd”