Black lives in Cornwall

Street Art project 2022

Black lives in Cornwall is a project 4Elementz is aiming to run though-out 2022. The project aims to teach black Cornish history though creative arts to engage wide audiences in the inspiring stories which will promote racial tolerance.


Project planning so far...

Our volunteers have been working with the local Kresen Kernow Cornish Archives and local black Cornish families gathering information about black people lives in Cornwall dating back to the 1500's. Black people have settled in Cornwall over the centuries, worked and raised families. Cornwall's diversity is not well understood or reported. This project seeks to change that and challenge the misconception that black people are only in urban areas of the country and that Cornwall is a 'white county'.


Telling stories though art.

4Elementz uses creative arts to engage hard to reach young people in education and training. This project will use art workshops and street art murals to engage our young people and audiences. 




About 4Elementz CIC and our local black community

4Elementz and our local black community. Over the last 8 years 4Elementz has run music, art and media projects that have used hiphop culture to engage young people. (Photo to the left is of a talk about Hip-hop and black history by Akala that we organised for our young people at Cornwall College.)


We have specialised in reaching hard to reach and socially excluded young people and with in that have found a large proportion of our beneficiaries and artists are from the black Cornish community.


It is though our projects that we have heard the experiences of black people in Cornwall how report to us a high level of hate crime, racial discrimination, exploitation from country lines gangs and police brutality and discrimination.


On a positive side we also work with many disadvantaged young white people who are inspired though black culture and our Hiphop projects. We have build a local music scene of local MC's and artists to all enjoy and immerse themselves in black culture. Our projects have been a success because of the way black culture resinates with our local young people living in poverty and suffering social exclusion. 


This project has been inspired by our young black beneficiaries and we hope that this project will help to promote a more inclusive Cornwall.  

Stories of Black lives in Cornwall

We are working on researching these stories and many more....Please come back soon

The black be added

Trade and Cornwall's maritime history

Barbarism and piracy

Slavery and empire... to be added

Joseph Emidy- 1775-1835 Ex slave from West Africa who was a 'genius violinist'. He finally gained his freedom in 1799 and settled in Cornwall. Joseph played for Truro Orchestra and became one of Britains first black composers. 

John Brown (Fed) 1810-1876. Excepted slave from Virginia. After escaping slavery he was re captured three times before finally making freedom along the underground railroad. He was promised work in Cornwall England in the local mines by Cornish miners in Wisconsin, USA. When he finally made it over to Cornwall he was given work in a mine in Redruth. He went on to work as an abolitionist and tell his storey at meetings in Cornwall and later in a book called a narrative of the life, suffering and escape of John Brown. published in 1855 

Olaudah Equiano ( known as Gustavus Vassa) died 1797 was a Portuguese slave who was freed in Falmouth. Was a writer and abolitionist. This portrait is in the National gallery.

Black Joan Finn - Pirate 


There have been a number of afro Caribbean families in Cornwall for hundreds of years due to the counties maritime heritage. This includes less respectable famous stories such as the Fin family of Looe. 


One famous character was Black Joan Finn, the carib Queen who was a smuggler and reputed pirate. (seem in this portrait in the background.)


There are two stories of Black Joan committing murder. The first when she killed a tall man on the island of skeleton and the second when she got into an argument with a Jamaican seaman in the Jolly Sailor Inn and she shot him in the head. She was acquitted for this crime after being jailed probably as the magistrates were her customers.


Black Till was another black pirate. She would pretend to be in distress in her rowing boat to distract the attention of any officers so that her father could move the contraband goods.


The abolition movement in Cornwall to be added

Cornish aboard... to be added

The Gallaway family

The Gallaway family have been in Cornwall since 1898 and span 5 generations of black Cornish heritage. More research is being done and will be added soon.

Daniel Christopher Gallaway Born 1875 in Boston, New York. Daniel was a cabin boy on the SS Mohegan which sank in 1898 just off of Cornwall. He swam fro the ship and was rescued by a fisherman. Daniel was taken in by a local lady. He lived the rest of his life out in Cornwall, marrying Harriet a local white lady and having several children Frank, Norman, Alfie and Violet. He dies in 1940 in a workhouse in Redruth

Violet Gallaway daughter in Daniel Gallaway. Lived in Probus and raised three children. Her son Gino Gallaway was fathered by a WW2 African American GI.

Frank Gallaway was a local boxer and was named Darky Gallaway. Here is a copy of a boxing poster.

The world wars to be added...

WW2 babies

Shirley Edwards - Local girl born by a WW2 African American GI and a local woman. She was born and raised in Probus. 

Post war immigration and integration to be added...

Camborne School of mines... to be added

Multicultural Cornwall today to be added...