(Warning: the below article contains excerpts from historical material that are explicitly racist and offensive to today’s readers. The author does not share the views of the material presented.)
Sometimes a random search can take you to unexpected places. For me it began a few months ago when I was asked to conduct a post-sale training session with a group of students at a university in Japan. I was told beforehand that the students were studying American History, including African Americans and other minorities, and I was asked to prepare an example that would match their interests.
By Megan Murphy I’m a third year History student at the University of Liverpool, a Gale Student Ambassador, and a self-proclaimed Jane Austen fanatic. As a modern historian, my main research interests revolve around the development of Victorian cities – particularly the crime and deviance that took place within them. Outside of my studies, in the rare time I spend without my head in a nineteenth-century newspaper, I specialise in binge-watching Louis Theroux documentaries.
Although Toxteth (an inner-city area of Liverpool) is now a proud and diverse community – one that is home to many independent businesses, local street markets and an urban regeneration project that was awarded the Turner Prize in 2015 – it is an area with a troubled past. In July 1981, four consecutive days of rioting in Toxteth resulted in the hospitalisation of 258 police officers, 160 arrests, 150 buildings being burnt to the ground, and countless businesses looted, with more destruction and injuries in the weeks that followed.