Full image caption
Joseph Johnson, an ex-seaman street singer. Joseph Johnson, known as 'Black Joe', was a seaman discharged from the Merchant Navy when he was wounded. He was not entitled to a seaman's pension nor could he claim parish relief, because he was born abroad. To earn money, Johnson became a street singer who built and wore a model of the sailing ship Nelson on his head. Sailors were amongst the first free Black people to reside in London. This etching is from 'Vagabondiana or, anecdotes of mendicant wanderers through the streets of London; with portraits of the most remarkable.' by John Thomas Smith. This print was originally published in 1815.
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