In the 18th century, The Black Poor were a group of people living in London, who for different reasons, were unable find work or who simply couldn’t find it. They generally lived around Covent Garden, the East End and Marlybone, and Eliabeth I on more than one occasion referred to the ‘great numbers of negars and blackamoors’ she wanted to be deported. God save the Queen. The funny thing is, they actually weren’t all Black. Originally, the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor was set up for Lascars (Indian sailors) who were sometimes abandoned in England by the East India Company. In 1786, The Committee found that there were about 250 Black and Indian people who needed help and some of the most prominent figures of London’s financial elite began to plan. Ironically, these abolitionists and members such as Thomas Boddington and John Angerstein, while raising money for aid, were themselves slave owners and benefited from the slave trade.
Whether it was in an effort to remove Blacks and Indians from London, or a purely altruistic endeavour, on 9th April 1787, 3 ships left Portsmouth bound for Sierra Leone. Even Olaudah Equiano was employed to help arrange supplies for the long journey. They arrived on May 5th and their descendents are called the Krio, and make up approximately 4% of Sierra Leone’s population.