Saturday, January 19, 2013
Today I did a web search for “Interracial Historical Romance”. Of late, I think I have been a bit preoccupied with historical romance between couples of differing races. Why? Because, having listened to a few dozen historical romance novels, it occurred to me that the authors never include any characters of color. Their characters include Europeans from various countries—including the Euro-Mediterranean countries—but no people of color.
So I began to wonder, where were all the people of color in Victorian England? Were there not even servants of color? Was it beyond the pale (pun absolutely intended) for the gentry to employ servants who were not as white as themselves?
I did some research on the subject. What I found was not particularly promising nor was it unpromising. Some mention of a queen who may have been the descendant of Moors, a Dahomeyan princess who became Queen Victoria’s ward, models, actors, and such. In recent years, there was even an exhibition that included images of Victorian people of color—I wish I could have seen that.
I once read an article, which noted that there was a thriving community of Black Londoners in Victorian England. It was a community of blue collar workers and poor laborers, but thriving nonetheless. I can’t remember where I found that article.
It seems there is incomplete information on the history of blacks in Victorian England (and the rest of Europe, for that matter). It leaves the imagination wide open to create history in works of fiction. I, for one, am open to a plethora of possibilities, though it would be wonderful to know the truth in its entirety.
Black Victorians, Black Victoriana
At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England