AFRICANS IN TUDOR ENGLAND
BLACKAMOORES: AFRICANS IN TUDOR ENGLAND
Onyeka’s book Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England, their Presence, Status, and Origins is a groundbreaking publication that challenges the deep held beliefs of what it is to be English. As the author states himself “Do we imagine English history as a book with white pages and no black letters in?” Onyeka has examined 250,000 documents during 10 years of research. This is the first time that a major historical publication has focused on the status and origins of Africans in Tudor England.
When we think of Tudor England we do not automatically think of Africans being present. Instead we limit such an African presence to modern times, implying that cultural diversity is a relatively new concept in Britain. However, Onyeka in this book emphasises that Africans were present across Tudor England: in cities and towns such as London, Plymouth, Bristol and Northampton. Significantly, these Africans were not solely enslaved peoples occupying the lowest portions of society. The few modern historians who have written about Africans in Tudor England suggest that they were all slaves, or transient immigrants who were considered as dangerous strangers and the epitome of otherness.
Onyeka references a variety of documents: both manuscript and printed, some of which have been found by him for the first time, whilst other evidence has been neglected or forgotten -
2014 People’s Book Prize Finalist
Blackamoores Course at the Black Cultural Archives
A Forgotten Heritage: Blackamoores in Tudor England
Every Wednesday 1st Nov-
This course is the first of its kind: where students will be able to explore the presence, status and origins of Africans in Tudor England through a specially designed programme. The
Blackamoores course is facilitated by Narrative Eye and hosted by the BCA. During this course students will have an opportunity to carry out detailed investigations based on the pioneering work of authors such as Onyeka. In his book Blackamoores (2013), he spent over twenty years researching the presence, status and origins of Africans in England. His work proved that Africans were not all slaves and that many came from strong and vibrant civilisations. We will discover that not only was this the time of William Shakespeare, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, but also people of African descent such as Mary Fillis of Morisco, Henrie Anthonie Jetto and Anne Vause. This six week programme will empower students to help write the missing pages of history. Students will be assessed and awarded a certificate of achievement upon successful completion.
Venue: Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, Brixton, London SW2 1EF