Colorism Origins: Secrets of the 1817 Slave Registers

Sun, 30 May 2021 19:00 – 20:00 BST

A Black history masterclass on what the 1817 Slave registers reveal about the origins of colorism.

A Black history masterclass on what the 1817 Slave registers reveal about the origins of colorism.

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ancestry Talks’ Paul Crooks will provide insight into the roots of colorism, stemming from his research into his family history, going back over 200 years.

Paul will discuss why many Africans & Caribbeans view race through the lens of a colour hierarchy prescribed during transatlantic enslavement. Discussion areas include:

  • what the 1817 Slave Registers reveal about the roots of colorism
  • how African Caribbean ancestors were taught to embrace colorism
  • why colorism never disintegrated after transatlantic slavery ended
  • the extent to which understanding of the history of the modern era can

a) be used as a tool for empowerment
b) recalibrate the discourse of race and colour
c) enables people to reflect on attitudes and behaviour in relation to colorism.


Links to the one-hour online live cast will be provided via an automated email an hour before the event starts.


Paul Crooks is unique as a published author and genealogist with a specialist interest in Black ancestry and African Caribbean history. He came to prominence with his pioneering research into African Caribbean genealogy During the 1990s, when he became the first to trace his family history back 6 generations, from London to his ancestors captured off the West African coast 200 years ago. He discovered his ancestors were enslaved on a sugar plantation in Jamaica. His books, Ancestors and A Tree Without Roots – The Guide To Tracing British, African And Asian Caribbean Ancestry brought him international recognition for his breakthrough research into Black ancestry.

Paul appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? with Moira Stuart as the expert in African Caribbean family history. He is credited with inspiring an upsurge in interest in Black and British ancestry. He is also recognised for having spawned an industry in African Caribbean genealogy.

Watch and learn more about Ancestry Talks with Paul Crooks.

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