Black and British: A Short, Essential History

Publisher: Macmillan

In 2020, a report found that the national curriculum in England "systematically omits the contribution of black British history”. Schools mark Black History Month each October, but this isn’t enough to ensure that all children are given a proper education on Black history.

David Olusoga’s latest edition of Black and British has been revised and rewritten especially for secondary school children. Olusoga concisely explains the much-overlooked history of Black peoples in Britain and beyond; from the multiculturally diverse society of Roman times and the first Africans in Britain to the link between the Industrial Revolution and the American Civil War, as well as more modern history such as the Second World War and the Windrush scandal. Maps, bite-sized facts, photos and paintings illustrate each rich and varied period of history, and we’re introduced to incredible figures such Olaudah Equiano and Ottobah Cugoano, who formed the Sons of Africa and were early Black abolitionists; Henry ‘Box’ Brown, an African-American speaker who in the mid-1800s mailed himself in a box to Philadelphia, where slavery was illegal; and Sam King MBE, who came to Britain on the Windrush and later became the first Black mayor of the London borough of Southwark.

Whilst 2020 has seen a growing awareness of the need for Black history in the national curriculum, the Black British identities so integral to our culture and history too often remain hidden. Olusoga expertly and accessibly addresses this, and the systemic racism that has led to this history being omitted right up to the present day. An absolute must-read for adults and secondary school children alike.

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