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Black and British: An Illustrated History

Book Synopsis

The essential starting place for anyone who wants to learn about Black British History. David Olusoga’s thought-provoking text charts the forgotten histories of Black people in Britain from Roman times right through to the present day. From Roman Africans guarding Hadrian’s Wall, to an African trumpeter in the court of Henry the Eighth, Black Georgians fighting for the abolition of slavery, Black soldiers fighting for Britain in the First World War, Windrush and right up today. These are the stories that brought us all together in this country.

When did Africans first come to Britain?

Who are the well-dressed black children in Georgian paintings?

Why did the American Civil War disrupt the Industrial Revolution?

These and many other questions are answered in this essential introduction to 1800 years of the Black British history.

This children’s edition of the bestseller Black and British: A Forgotten History is beautifully illustrated in full-colour with maps, portrait galleries, timelines, photos and portraits.

Our Review Panel says...

This new illustrated children’s edition of David Olusoga’s account of Black British history is an essential book for schools – not only as an accessible and informative non-fiction read for KS2, but also as a book that I would thoroughly recommend for improving primary teachers’ own historical subject knowledge and especially those with input into their school’s curriculum design. As expressed perfectly by Lavinya Stennett (CEO of the Black Curriculum) in the Afterword, ‘This book is a testimony to the rich experiences of Black people of Britain in different periods of our history, and a reminder of the dearth of Black history in our curriculums.’

In the book, Olusoga explains the overlooked history of Black people in Britain from Roman times to the present day. Readers may be surprised to imagine the multiculturally diverse make-up of Roman Britain – and indeed to question why sources of history in primary schools may paint a historically misrepresentative picture of Roman society. Equally interesting is the development of notions of race throughout the periods of history, as the book walks chronologically through key eras. Did you know that it was only during the time of James I that the term ‘white’ was used as a description of racial identity, or that long after the abolition of slavery, the Victorians were propagating their own racist theories to justify profiting from slave-powered commerce?

The new illustrated version adds an impressive visual element with full-colour illustrations, maps, portrait galleries, timelines, and photographs. This edition makes the history behind the book accessible to a younger audience still and makes for a highly recommendable and informative non-fiction read.

This book is available on these booklists:

Black and British: KS2 Lesson Pack

A pack of lessons and activities provided by the publisher, intended to give inspiration for how teachers might incorporate content from Black and British into KS2 history lessons.

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