The incredible life story of an African slave who went on to become a celebrated musician in Cornwall after moving to Falmouth is being remembered during Black History Month.

As part of the national month of recognition during October, which was started in order to recognise the important contributions people of African and Caribbean descent have had on the UK, a statute of Joseph Emidy has been put on display at Falmouth Library.

His story goes back to the dark days of slavery in the 18th century, when Joseph was taken as a slave from Africa to South America.

Whilst in slavery he was taught to play the violin by a Jesuit priest. Joseph was a natural student and became proficient in playing.

He was then transported to Portugal and played as a slave for the wealthy and elite.

The British war ship HMS Indefatigable visited Lisbon and spied Joseph playing the violin when the officers were being entertained by officials of that city.

Seeing an opportunity of getting entertainment on the ship for officers and crew, Joseph was pressed ganged onto the ship. He went on to serve on the ship for four years.

Returning to England, the captain freed and discharged Joseph in Falmouth. High and dry, abandoned an ex slave, what was to become of him?

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Thankfully the people of Falmouth in 1799 took him in and treated him with kindness, making him one of their own.

He soon began playing and teaching the violin and writing music for the instrument – going on to become the leader of Truro Philharmonic Orchestra, with connections also to Helston.

He married a local girl, Jenefer Hutchins, and settled down, with the couple going on to have many children. His line is still carried on and now can be traced to the USA.

A plaque dedicated to Joseph is in the King Charles the Martyr Church and he is buried in Truro's Kenwyn churchyard.

The sculpture was the idea of Penny Phillips, chairman of the Mission to Seafarers, who organised for a display in the mission garden at Falmouth Docks.

The sculpture was made by Graham Hall, a volunteer at the mission.

It normally sits the in the garden of the mission, but for this month it can be found at Falmouth Library as part of Black History Month.

With thanks to Graham Hall.