John Archer, Mayor

In 1913, John Archer was elected Mayor of Battersea, winning by a single vote. He was already well-known for his radical politics and opposition to spiritualism; and the election made him even better-known, as the first black person to become a mayor in the United Kingdom.

During his acceptance speech, Archer said "It is a victory such as has never been gained before". However, some of the council members were dismayed, and asked him repeatedly where he had been born (the answer was "Liverpool").

Sadly, many newspapers were also displeased, and were said to have lightened Archer's skin in the photographs they printed.

Read more stories about the twentieth century.

Read more stories about Battersea.

Read more stories about politics.

Read more stories about writers and writing.

Read more stories about persecution and prejudice.

Picture pending.
Story sources: The British Library, John Archer's Early Life; Untold London; 100 Great Black Britons, John Archer.