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Meet Chinyelu Onwurah, Newcastle’s First Black Member of Parliament



Nigeria-born Chinyelu Onwurah has been sworn in as a member of the parliament for Newcastle Central.

Onwurah became Newcastle’s first black MP in 2010, and was re-elected in 2019.

She took to Twitter to thank the people of Newcastle Central, and vowed to represent them.

She wrote:

Today I was sworn in as Member of Parliament for Newcastle Central. It is an honour & a privilege to represent you, the people of Newcastle Central. However you voted I am your voice in Parliament & will do all I can to help you.

Chinyelu Susan Onwurah was born on April 12, 1965. Her mother hails from Newcastle and her father, from Nigeria.

Onwurah says on her official website

My maternal grandfather was a sheet metal worker in the shipyards of the Tyne during the depression. My mother grew up in poverty in Garth Heads on the quayside.

In the fifties, she married my father, a Nigerian student at Newcastle Medical School. In 1965, I was born whilst they were living in Long Benton where my father had a dental practice.

I was still a baby when my father took us to live in Awka, Nigeria.

But two years later, the Biafran Civil War broke out, bringing famine with it and, as described vividly in an Evening Chronicle article in 1968, my mother, my brother and sister and I returned as refugees to Newcastle, whilst my father stayed on in the Biafran army.

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