The remarkable story of James Arthur Harley.
This event takes place at the British Library.
Scholar, reverend, politician, and perhaps aristocrat, James Arthur Stanley Harley was certainly a polymath.
Born in 1873 in All Saints village in the Caribbean Island of Antigua, he went on to attend Harvard, Yale and Oxford universities, was ordained a priest in Canterbury Cathedral and was elected to Leicestershire County Council. He was a pioneer Oxford anthropologist, a country curate and a firebrand councillor. This remarkable career was all the more extraordinary because he was black in an age – the early 20th century – that was institutionally racist.
Pamela Roberts’ meticulously-researched new book, The Adventures of a Black Edwardian Intellectual – The Story of James Arthur Harley, tells Harley’s hitherto unknown story from humble Antiguan childhood, through elite education in Jim Crow America to the turbulent England of World War I and the General Strike.
Based on Harley’s letters, sermons, writings, contemporary accounts, and later oral testimony, this is an account of an individual’s trajectory through seven decades of dramatic social change.
Followed by a Q&A and book signing.
Pamela Roberts, an award-winning creative producer and historian, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow at the British Library. The author of Black Oxford: The Untold Stories of Oxford University’s Black Scholars, her work as Founder and Director of Black Oxford Untold Stories has raised the profile of many black scholars from the turn of the 20th century.
This event is organised by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library. The Eccles Centre exists to support and promote creative research and lifelong learning about the Americas, through the world-class collections of the British Library.
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Under 18: £2.50
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