From Queen Victoria’s goddaughter who was freed from slavery to a US soldier honored for his bravery, these images capture some of the 19th century’s renowned Americans, Britons and Australians of African origin.
Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies, a West African girl who was liberated from slavery by Queen Victoria and became the monarch’s goddaughter, poses for the camera with her hand on her chin.
One striking portrait shows US Corporal Isaiah Mays displaying his Medal of Honour awarded to him after his bravery under fire when a paymaster was ambushed and robbed in Arizona in 1889.
Another captures Australian boxer Peter Jackson who won the Australian heavyweight title in 1886 by knocking out Tom Lees in the 30th round for which was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Others portraits capture Nellie Louise Franklin, the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Oregon, and Selika Lazevski, a Parisian horsewoman famed for her skills in dressage.
She appears alongside Ethiopian Prince Alamayou who was orphaned at the age of seven and brought to England by army officer Sir Robert Napier where he died from a viral infection aged just 18.
The photos have been resurrected alongside others showing everyday Americans and Britons including one of a Georgia family sitting a meadow and of Pablo Fanque, the first black circus owner in Britain.
One striking portrait shows Corporal Isaiah Mays (left), who was a member of the Buffalo Soldiers – the all-black 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army – displaying his Medal of Honour awarded to him after his bravery under fire when a paymaster was ambushed and robbed in Arizona in 1889. The robbery of $28,000 worth of gold and silver coins happened when Major Joseph Wham was transporting a payroll from Fort Grant, Arizona Territory to Fort Thomas.
Another striking image captures Australian boxer Peter Jackson (right) who won the Australian heavyweight title in 1886 by knocking out Tom Lees in the 30th round. Jackson was born in on the island Saint Croix, which was then the capital of the Danish West Indies, before he moved to Australia. While working on ships as a deck hand in the Sydney Docks aged 14, he used his fists to quell a mutiny. This brought him to the attention of trainer Larry Foley and his boxing career began
Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies, a West African girl who was liberated from slavery by Queen Victoria and became the monarch’s goddaughter, poses for the camera with her hand on her chin. Originally named Aina, she was born in 1843 at Oke-Odan, an Egbado village. In 1848, Oke-Odan was raided by a Dahomeyan army. Aina’s parents died during the attack and she ended up in the court of King Ghezo as a slave at the age of five. Intended by her captors to become a human sacrifice, she was rescued by Captain Frederick Forbes of the Royal Navy, who convinced King Ghezo of Dahomey to give her to Queen Victoria. She then became the monarch’s goddaughter and after she was liberated, she married Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a wealthy Victorian Lagos philanthropist.
Ethiopian Prince Alamayou who was orphaned at the age of seven, and brought to England by captain Tristram Speedy. In 1878 he joined the officers’ training school at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, but he was not happy there and the following year went to Far Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, to stay with his old tutor Cyril Ransome. He died aged just 18 after suffering a viral infection.