Bringing Black History to life in Stowmarket

We hosted a great free Black History event in Stowmaket on 11th June 2014. The event marked the 70th anniversary of boxer Joe Louis’ visit to the town in 1944.

Joe came to visit the Black American troops stationed in our area to raise morale, before they moved to newly liberated France following D-Day.

Our audience heard from a number of guest speakers. Community Historian Stephen Bourne shared his research into the contribution to the home front of Black British people. Black Historian and writer  S.I.Martin gave an insight into Joe Louis and why his visit was so important.

Dr. Lucy Bland spoke about her research into the mixed race babies that were born to White  British mothers and Black American GI’s and John Davidson brought the music of the time, and its impact on our region, to life.

img107.American Parade. 3.6.44.

The day finished with an archive film show of Joe Louis in action and the evocative recollections of Black American veterans.

We were particularly thrilled to have a visitor who was eleven years old in 1944. He remembers seeing Joe Louis box in Haughley Park and we hope to be able to share his story with you in the near future.

We’re also interested in hearing from you if you remember Joe’s visit to Stowmarket, or  if you know of anyone who is the child of a Black American servicemen.

If you can help us in any way then please get in touch.