Black and British: An Illustrated History


Jake Alexander and Melleny Taylor illustrate David Olusoga’s Black and British: An Illustrated History. Therefore, alongside a timeline of black history through Britain’s timeline, from the Roman British African community at Hadrian’s Wall, we are offered sketches, maps, photographs and anecdotal evidence. It means we can see a photograph of Queen Victoria’s friend, Sarah Forbes Bonnetta, we realise the carve up of African that came from European competition.

What’s more, despite this being a children’s non-fiction book, David Olusoga explains events clearly and thoroughly. Therefore, we learn how profits from slavery funded the Industrial Revolution. What’s more, the American Civil War divided Britain sharply. Although the British government did not take sides, merchants in the port of Liverpool, built ships for the American South and sent it guns as an act of solidarity.  British businesses relied on cotton grown by enslaved people.

We track developments in the 20th and 21st centuries, from African and West Indian peoples who served through both world wars, to the arrival of Windrush, and thereafter #BlackLivesMatter.

Bookwagon is overwhelmed by the depth and thoroughlness of this book, what we have learned, and how it has made us feel. Readers deserve to have their story, and the real story told and shared. Black and British:An Illustrated History is essential for home and school.

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist


Black and British: An Illustrated History

David Olusoga, illustrated by Jake Alexander & Melleny Taylor

(Pan Macmillan) – hardback

 Black and British: An Illustrated Historyexplains how national history is intertwined with our family histories’.

This means that we track from the African community resident at Hadrian’s Wall in Roman Britain. Thereafter we learn about John Blanke, who played trumpet at the funeral of Henry VII and the coronation of Henry VIII. Meanwhile, we realise what Sir John Hawkins started as he sought to trade enslaved Africans with the Spanish communities of the Americas. 
It seems the slave trade brought Britain huge prosperity. What’s more, it was not only the direct and brutal trade of people, but the plantations that they worked. Sugar was addictive to Georgian Britain. Therefore, when Jonathan Strong’s plight motivated Granville Sharp to make the abolition of slavery his life’s goal, it was an uphill battle. Furthermore, even after slavery was abolished in Britain its profits enabled further wealth with the Industrial Revolution. 
We read of African or West Indian soldiers who signed up to fight in WWI. It seems those who arrived expecting work in Britain, could not find jobs or houses, because of the colour of their skin. Again in WWII, Africans and West Indians joined the British forces and came to Britain to do war work. Yet after the war more workers were needed to help Britain’s recovery. This led to The Story of the Windrush. Thereafter, Black and British: An Illustrated History, concludes with critical events of recent times, including Black Lives Matter. Furthermore, we read of black people of note and influence.  David Olusoga Black and British: An Illustrated History is an essential book for home and school.



There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Black and British: An Illustrated History”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…