An African in Imperial London
The Indomitable Life of A. B. C. Merriman-Labor
This biography of the author of Britons Through Negro Spectacles restores him to the pantheon of African observers of colonialism and opens a window onto racial attitudes in Edwardian London.
In a world dominated by the British Empire, at a time when many Europeans considered black people inferior, African writer A. B. C. Merriman-Labor claimed his right to describe the world as he found it. During his fifteen years in London, he looked at the greatest city in the greatest empire the world had ever known and laughed.
An African in Imperial London is the first biography of this extraordinary man. It describes the tragic spiral that pulled him down the social ladder from writer and barrister to munitions worker, from witty observer of the social order to patient in a state-run hospital for the poor. Danell Jones sketches a vivid portrait of the great metropolis as it writhed its way into a new century of appalling social inequity, world-transforming inventions, and unprecedented demands for civil rights. This cultural history, told through African eyes, provides scholars with a richly researched portrait of a black life in Edwardian England, and transports general readers to an intriguing world of diversity, ingenuity, and struggle.
Danell Jones is a writer and scholar whose works have appeared in a wide variety of publications, from British academic journals to small presses. She has a PhD in literature from Columbia University and is the author of The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop and Desert Elegy.