London, Friday, 24 February 2017
- Author and specialist in African Caribbean is excited to announce a series of landmark talks to mark Alex Haley’s epic family saga ROOTS
- Paul Crooks – the first Black Briton to trace African ancestors who were enslaved in Jamaica 200 years ago
- Paul will be touring London venues throughout 2017. He will be captivating audiences with his dynamic and inspiring novel and his amazing journey took him from suburban north London to the Caribbean and from there to the Gold Coast of Africa where his story originally began.
In 1977, the miniseries Roots became the most-watched television program of all time. 1 billion people and 4 million UK households watched Roots mini-series 1977. The last in the mini-series remake starring Forest Whittaker and Lawrence Fishburne is being screened on Wednesday 9pm BBC4 on History.
Paul Crooks is Black Britain’s trailblazing expert in tracing African-Caribbean family history. In 1990, he was told that it would be impossible to trace records of slave-ownership let alone his African ancestors enslaved on plantations in Jamaica. Undeterred, he embarked on a journey of discovery that led from suburban North London to Jamaica and ultimately back to the Gold Coast of Africa.
Paul’s novel and guide to tracing the legacy of slavery unlocked the potential of slave registers for researching slave ownership and Black British family history. Subsequent speaking engagements, an appearance on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and national radio interviews, inspired a generation of to start exploring legacies of Britain’s slave ownership. Paul’s acclaimed historical novel Ancestors (Arcadia books) provides a narrative on the controversial history of Britain’s transatlantic slave trade, experiences of slaves (from kidnap to working on plantations) and resistance.
Ancestors (fiction) is the result of Paul’s twenty year quest to find his African forebears. His journey took him from suburban north London to the Caribbean and from there to the Gold Coast of Africa where his story originally began.
In the late 18th century, at the age of ten, Paul’s great-great-great-grandfather John Alexander Crooks was captured and put aboard a slave ship from West Africa bound for Jamaica. Ancestor’s the fictionalised account of John’s experiences in the forty years from 1798 to 1838, the year the slaves in the British West Indies were set free. Against the backdrop of the Crooks’ sugar plantation in Hanover, Jamaica and through the experiences of the protagonist John Alexander Crooks (aka) August, Paul recreates the experiences of slaves, their loves and losses, their conversion by the missionaries to Christianity, and the ultimate battle for emancipation.
A Tree Without Roots: The Guide to Tracing British, African and Asian Caribbean Ancestry (non-fiction)
There’s nothing more fascinating than one’s own past. Knowledge of our ancestors fashion a more complete picture of who we are, and hints at what to expect of ourselves in years to come.
From a man who dedicated twenty years of his life to uncovering the saga of his African slave ancestors comes a guide for others to capitalise on his informed techniques and discover just what it means to know where one is from. Offering ground-breaking insights on how to delve into ones past, this book is intended for both beginners and experienced researchers and provides inspiration to those who believe that their search may be hampered by having a mixed parentage or a history of migration through the ages. An instructive guide for those interested in finding out more about their family connections with the Caribbean islands, it nevertheless offers techniques and approaches that can be applied to anyone researching their ancestors around the world.
1. Tue 7 March 2017, 7.30pm – Lewisham Library, 199-201 Lewisham High Street, London, SE13 6LG
2. Sat 18 March 2017, 2.00pm – Palmers Green Library, Broomfield Lane, N13 4EY
3. Tue 28 March 2017, 6.15pm – Stoke Newington Library, Church Street, N16 0JS
4. Tuesday, 11 April 2017, 7.00pm – Leytonstone Library, 6 Church Lane, Leytonstone, E11 1HG
5. Sat 22 April 2017, 3.00pm – Walthamstow Library, High Street, E17 7JN
More dates and venues to be announced. For more information visit; https://ancestrytalkslew.eventbrite.co.uk