Black heroes who helped shape Britain – 100 Great Black Britons 2020


A new book called ‘100 Great Black Britons’ looks at the impact black Brits past and present have made in the UK, from modern heroes like Sir Lenny Henry to John Blanke, a trumpeter who performed at the funeral of Henry VII.

It’s an extraordinary list… ranging from 21st century household names to little- known figures from history.

But what the stories of these 100 Great Black Britons show, is their considerable and varied contribution.

The original list was launched as part of a campaign for recognition in 2003 but it has now been updated in a new book based on 2019.

Celebrities such as Sir Lenny Henry and Dame Kelly Holmes are there, but so also are a Tudor trumpeter, a 19th century taxider- mist and many other fascinating figures.

Read more on the Daily Mirror


The 100 Great Black Britons 2020 list

Victor Adebowale

Baron Adebowale CBE

Adedoyin Olayiwola Adepitan MBE

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE

Professor Hakim Adi

Sir David Adjaye OBE, RA and Elsie Owusu OBE, RIBA


John Akomfrah CBE

Ira Aldridge

Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos CH

Kehinde Andrews

Sir Lenny Henry CBE

Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu DBE

Dr Elaine Arnold

Amma Asante MBE

Winifred Atwell

Dame Jocelyn Barrow DBE

Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC, COG

Dame Floella Benjamin of Beckenham DBE, DL

Munroe Bergdorf

Jak Beula Dodd

Karen Blackett OBE

Malorie Blackman OBE

John Blanke

Dennis Bovell

Sonia Boyce OBE, RA

Dr Aggrey Burke

Vanley Burke

Margaret Busby OBE, FRSL

Dawn Butler

Earl Cameron CBE

Betty Campbell MBE

Naomi Campbell

Queen Charlotte

Edric Connor

Lloyd Coxsone

William Cuffay

Quobna Ottobah Cugoano

Dame Linda Dobbs DBE

John Edmonstone

Idris Elba OBE

Edward Enninful OBE

Olaudah Equiano

Bernardine Evaristo MBE,


Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah CBE

Lenford Kwesi Garrison

George the Poet

Paul Gilroy

Bernie Grant

Stuart Hall

Lewis Hamilton MBE

Lubaina Himid CBE, RA

Dame Kelly Holmes DBE

Darcus Howe

Rose Hudson-Wilkin MBE

Eric Huntley and Jessica Huntley

Professor Augustine ‘Gus’ John

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Claudia Jones

Sheku Kanneh-Mason MBE

Jackie Kay CBE

Sam King MBE

Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE

John La Rose

David Lammy

Marai Larasi MBE

Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE

Andrea Levy

Sir Steven McQueen CBE

Dr Harold Moody

Olive Morris

Grace Nichols and John Agard

Chinyere (Chi-chi) Nwanoku OBE

David Adetayo Olusoga OBE

Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah ‘Lady Phyll’

Olivette Otele

Horace Ové CBE

David Oyelowo OBE

George Padmore

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE

Alex Pascall OBE

David Pitt, Baron Pitt of Hampstead

Mary Prince

Marvin Rees

Bill Richmond and Thomas Molyneux

Marcia Rigg

Ignatius Sancho

Stafford Scott

Mary Seacole

Menelik Shabazz

Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA

Paul Stephenson OBE


Robert Wedderburn and William Davidson

Dame Sharon White DBE

Henry Sylvester Williams

Allan Wilmot

Simon Woolley, Baron Woolley of Woodford

Gary Younge

Benjamin Zephaniah


100 Great Black Britons The Book!

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.

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.

Pre-order your copy via these links: