The Empire Needs Men

Stripped to the waist and sweated chest
Midday's reprieve brings much-needed rest
From trenches deep toward the sky.
Non-fighting troops and yet we die.

- extract from The Black Soldier's Lament by George A. Borden

28th June 1914, this date is a defining date for world history - Archduke Ferdinand was shot dead by a Serbian.

The assassination of the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne led to the mobilisation of troops in 4 different continents, resulting in casualties of over 37 million people worldwide and at the end, the disintegration of two empires.

But how did the death of one man, lead to such a catastrophe, 
and what does it have to do with Africans?

 The Empire Needs Men Exhibition travels throughout London with a thought-provoking display of images and artefacts charting the First World War from an African perspective. There will also be a range of workshops open to all.

Battle of the Somme Project

The Battle of the Somme Project will investigate the presence and contribution of Black soldiers during this key battle of World War One.

2016 will mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in which there were Black soldiers present from Britain, the Caribbean, and Africa.

This project will include a 5-week course, museum visits, a new play and other activities to celebrate the contribution these soldiers made to the Battle of the Somme and WWI.




During this brand new course, we will investigate the turbulent relationship with Europe and African nations from the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century. We will discover how African people went from fighting against European nations such as Britain, to fighting for them on various fronts.

Students will explore the African contribution on several continents, during World War One, including key events such as the Battle of the Somme and evaluate the effects of the war for Africans in the diaspora in the 20th and 21st centuries.

This will be a 5-week comprehensive course for all abilities.

For more information please email or call 07837 293 224

Previous Workshops and Talks

The Empire Needs Men with Gangs Unite

In August 2014, we worked with Gangs Unite, an organisation helping young people at risk of exclusion and gang affiliation. Over a period of three weeks we delivered workshops to a group of ten young people. The group people learnt about the contribution of African people from the Caribbean Islands, Africa, America and Britain to World War I.

The Empire Needs Men with 100 Mothers Movement

In August 2014 we organised a trip to the Imperial War Museum to learn and explore about the contribution of Africans to World War I.


School workshops have taken place in  Barlby Primary School, Risley Avenue Primary School  and Oxford Gardens Primary School. For more information,  please contact