WoW BHM23: Great War to Race Riots Walking Tour

Saturday 14th October

The race riots of 1919 were a watershed moment for Liverpool’s longstanding black community. On the night of 6th June 1919 unprecedented racial violence erupted in the modern-day Chinatown area that would continue for days as gangs of people, reportedly in the thousands, hunted out “any black man they could find … severely beating and stabbing” them. Black homes and businesses were looted and wrecked as over 700 members of the black community were housed in bridewells for their own protection.


During 1919 such racial violence was mirrored in other port towns and cities across mainland Britain including Glasgow, Cardiff and others. Across the Atlantic Ku Klux Klan activity was at its height and Chicago witnessed race riots in what came to be termed as ‘The Red Summer.’

Using official reports from the time the 1919 walking tour traces the events of the 6th of June 1919 visiting the residences of those involved as well as trailing the tragic last movements of Charles Wootton, a 24-year-old Bermudan sailor and victim of the 1919 riots, who was chased by a mob into the Queens Dock where he was pelted with rocks until he drowned. Not a single person was charged in connection with his death and the coroner’s ruling was ‘death be drowning’. We finish the tour at the site of the murder of Charles Wotton.

Inspired by the hugely successful Great War to Race Riots Archive project and ‘Black Lives and Legacies 1919’ project, our volunteers have researched and mapped a history yet to be recognised in mainstream accounts of our city’s well documented past.

Please assemble at the Chinese Arch on the Corner of Nelson & Street Berry Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 5DN, at 12pm. See map below.

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