Celebrating Highgate and Peter Stanford, Birmingham's First Black Minister

Reverend Peter Stanford

Heritage Grants

Birmingham, West Midlands
Highgate Baptist Church
£5300
Highgate Baptist Church researched the remarkable life of Peter Stanford, Birmingham’s first black minister.

“Often when we talk about black history it is something recent. The fact that Stanford was here in the 1800s as a black minister is amazing.”

Peter Stanford was born in America. A former slave, he later joined the Baptist church and travelled to England on a fundraising mission. He settled in Birmingham, serving as minister in Highgate from 1887-1895 and became a prominent campaigner for racial justice.

This project was a collaboration between Highgate Baptist Church, Birmingham History and Archives, St Alban’s School and the Birmingham Civic Society. It uncovered accounts of black people in 19th century Birmingham, changing people's belief that black history in the UK had started in the 20th century.

Volunteers developed skills in archival research and oral history. Trained participants collected memories of the current congregation and explored the significance of Stanford’s story today. 

A community day celebrated the project’s achievements and unveiled a commemorative blue plaque so more and a wider range of people could learn about Stanford. 

The research and learning resources formed an archive which was donated to Birmingham Library.

Watch the Black History In Birmingham film.

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