100 Great Black Britons

Front Cover
Little, Brown Book Group, Sep 24, 2020 - History - 464 pages

'An empowering read . . . it is refreshing to see somebody celebrate the role that black Britons have played in this island's long and complicated history'
DAVID LAMMY, author of Tribes, in 'The best books of 2020', the Guardian

'Timely and so important . . . recognition is long overdue . . . I would encourage everyone to buy it!'
DAWN BUTLER MP

A long-overdue book honouring the remarkable achievements of key Black British individuals over many centuries, in collaboration with the 100 Great Black Britons campaign founded and run by Patrick Vernon OBE.


'Building on decades of scholarship, this book by Patrick Vernon and Dr Angelina Osborne brings the biographies of Black Britons together and vividly expands the historical backdrop against which these hundred men and women lived their lives.'
From the Foreword, by DAVID OLUSOGA

'I am delighted to see the relaunch of 100 Great Black Britons. For too long the contribution of Britons of African and Caribbean heritage have been underestimated, undervalued and overlooked'
SADIQ KHAN, Mayor of London

Patrick Vernon's landmark 100 Great Black Britons campaign of 2003 was one of the most successful movements to focus on the role of people of African and Caribbean descent in British history. Frustrated by the widespread and continuing exclusion of the Black British community from the mainstream popular conception of 'Britishness', despite Black people having lived in Britain for over a thousand years, Vernon set up a public poll in which anyone could vote for the Black Briton they most admired.

The response to this campaign was incredible. As a result, a number of Black historical figures were included on the national school curriculum and had statues and memorials erected and blue plaques put up in their honour. Mary Seacole was adopted by the Royal College of Nursing and was given the same status as Florence Nightingale. Children and young people were finally being encouraged to feel pride in their history and a sense of belonging in Britain.

Now, with this book, Vernon and Osborne have relaunched the campaign with an updated list of names and accompanying portraits -- including new role models and previously little-known historical figures. Each entry explores in depth the individual's contribution to British history - a contribution that too often has been either overlooked or dismissed.

In the wake of the 2018 Windrush scandal, and against the backdrop of Brexit, the rise of right-wing populism and the continuing inequality faced by Black communities across the UK, the need for this campaign is greater than ever.

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About the author (2020)

Patrick Vernon (Author)
Patrick Vernon OBE is a Clore and Winston Churchill Fellow, a fellow at the Imperial War Museum and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Patrick was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his work in tackling health inequalities affecting ethnic minority communities in Britain. In 2018 Patrick received an honorary PhD from Wolverhampton University for his work on migration and cultural history. Since 2010 he has been leading the campaign for national Windrush Day and in 2018 kick-started the campaign for an amnesty for the Windrush Generation as part of the Windrush Scandal. In 2020 Patrick was selected by British Vogue as one of Britain's top twenty campaigners and was included in the 2020 Power List of 100 influential Black people in Britain.

Angelina Osborne (Author)
DR ANGELINA OSBORNE is an independent researcher and heritage consultant. She received her PhD in History from the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull in 2014. Her interests focus on Caribbean enslavement and proslavery discourses, and the history of community and education activism.