A long-overdue book, 100 Great Black Britons honours the remarkable achievements of key Black British individuals over history, in collaboration with the 100 Great Black Britons campaign founded and run by Patrick Vernon OBE and Dr Angelina Osborne. With a foreword written by David Olusoga, this book includes a list of Black British 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.
The arrival of the SS Empire Windrush in Britain from the Caribbean has been mythologised as the defining moment that changed Britain from an exclusively white country into a racially diverse one. Yet Africans have been present in Britain since Roman times and there has been a constant Black presence in Britain since the sixteenth century.
In 2003, Vernon and Osborne, frustrated by the almost complete exclusion of the Black British community from mainstream notions of Britishness in education and popular media, launched their ground-breaking 100 Great Black Britons campaign, which invited the public to vote for the Black Briton they most admired. The campaign was a huge success across Britain.
In 2019, following the wake of Brexit and the 2018 Windrush Scandal, Vernon and Osborne decided it was time to relaunch the campaign to ensure the continued legacy and achievement of Black people in Britain.