Britons Through Negro Spectacles

Britons Through Negro Spectacles


'We shall therefore confine our walk to Central London where people meet on business during the day, and to West London where they meet for pleasure at night. If you will walk about the first City in the British Empire arm in arm with Merriman-Labor, you are sure to see Britons in merriment and at labour, by night and by day, in West and Central London.'

In Britons Through Negro Spectacles Merriman-Labor takes us on a joyous, intoxicating tour of London at the turn of the 20th century.

Slyly subverting the colonial gaze usually placed on Africa, he introduces us to the citizens, culture and customs of Britain with a mischievous glint in his eye.

This incredible work of social commentary feels a century ahead of its time, and provides unique insights into the intersection between empire, race and community at this important moment in history.

Selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, this series rediscovers and celebrates pioneering books depicting black Britain that remap the nation.


  • Merriman-Labor was clearly way ahead of his time with this razor-sharp satire, with many of his observations both painfully accurate and not entirely without humour
    Buzz Magazine

About the author

ABC Merriman-Labor

A.B.C. Merriman-Labor was a barrister, writer and munitions worker born in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1877. His published works include A Series of Lectures on the Negro Race and The Story of the African Slave in a Nutshell. He also edited two editions of the Handbook of Sierra Leone. He arrived in the UK in 1904 to study law. In 1907, he organised a centenary commemoration of the abolition of the slave trade in Westminster Abbey. He later embarked on an 'entertainment-lecture' tour called Life and Scenes in Britain, travelling across thousands of miles of West, South West and Central Africa, which he expanded on to create Britons Through Negro Spectacles.
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