Black Poppy Rose: symbol of remembrance for black soldiers in the First World War

For a country that documents its history, raises monuments, statues and plaques, there is a severe lack in representing a full picture of WW1 on all fronts, explains Selena Carty.

Walter Tull

British footballer, Walter Tull, was the first black officer in the British Army. Tull died at the Battle of the Somme, March 1918.

What is the BlackPoppyRose?

The BlackPoppyRose is a symbol created to remember all of our African/Black ancestors who contributed in many ways towards World War One. It is different to the red poppy, as it a symbol to honour African history.

The BlackPoppyRose has been created for Africans/Black People everywhere to hold pride, honour and glory for the tales and legends left behind by our ancestors and for the future generations to be empowered by their history.

  • Black – Is for the people
  • Poppy – is for remembrance
  • Rose – is for honour and respect

When Britain was an empire, it benefited from the colonies which were part of it. I am a result of those contributions. I started this project five years ago, as I felt that in the country I call home, the history that represents me is missing.

For a country that documents its history, raises monuments, statues and plaques, produces documentaries, books, articles and magazines, etc., there is a severe lack in representing a full picture of World War One on all fronts.

Africans/Black people from all over acknowledged their sense of duty to their motherlands in World War One. Our ancestors gave so much, even when treated as three fifths of a human being.

How I embarked on this journey

I was invited to a Black Poppy event which highlighted names, pictures and accounts of Africans who served in World War One all over the world as well as right here in my home, England - all of which I had no idea about. This event sparked in me the need to find a way to physically represent and encompass the feelings I was left with.

This has led me to work in collaboration with others to create the BlackPoppyRose. The atrocities of slavery have scattered us all over the world and this symbol is to honour and remember we are Africans regardless of where we are in this world.

What’s next for the BlackPoppyRose?

My vision for the BlackPoppyRose is for every African child to be filled with great self-worth. When Remembrance Day comes around on November 11th, they too should be able remember the legacies left for them.

Since the start of BlackPoppyRose in 2009, we have worked in collaboration with Narrative Eye‘s The Black Poppy and The Empire Needs Men, as well as The West Indian Ex-Servicemen and Women association in Clapham Junction.

The BlackPoppyRose will keep the memory of our ancestors‘ contributions, sacrifices and efforts alive in our minds, hearts and spirits for the foreseeable future.

Visit to purchase your BlackPoppyRose.

Source: BlackPoppyRose

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