William Cuffay

Category: Equality, History

Contents (Jump to Section)


William Cuffay’s grandfather was an African, abducted and sold into slavery. His father was born into slavery on the island of St Kitts but managed to arrange passge to Chatham, where William was born. In due course William became one of the leaders of the Chartist movement, the first mass political movement of the British working class. Although ridiculed in the press, he was held in the highest affection and respect among his comrades.

William Cuffay: A Man Of Medway

Dr Jeremy Clarke of The Guildhall Museum, Rochester discusses the life of William Cuffay.

The Story Of William Cuffay

This pamphlet is an excerpt from Peter Fryer’s Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain on William Cuffay, black tailor and leader of the London Chartists. Reprinted with footnotes by Past Tense in 2005.

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William Cuffay: The Chartists’ Black Leader

The son of a freed slave, William Cuffay played a key role in the struggle for democracy in Britain. A country which respected its history would honour him rather than the men who sold his ancestors.

By Tom Scriven (originally posted in Tribune 4th July 2020)

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William Cuffay, Black Chartism and a Treasured Object

People’s History Museum’s Researcher Dr Shirin Hirsch explores the life of William Cuffay and reveals a precious, rare and poetic treasure of Cuffay’s from the museum’s collection.

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The National Archives: WIlliam Cuffay

The National Archives holds a number of records on William Cuffay, including a transcript of his trial.

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William Cuffay: London’s Black Chartist

By Norbert J. Gossman, published in Phylon, Vol. 44, No. 1 (1st Qtr., 1983)

This is held in JSTOR, a digital library of academic journals. Free online access is available once you have created an account.

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William Cuffay: A Son of Medway 1788 – 1870

A celebration of William Cuffay’s life and work by Medway Trades Union Council. Featuring Keith Flett, Anna Rothery, Mikey Bousquet, Steve Wilkins and Mark Gregory.