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  • Olusoga is one of my favourite TV historians at the moment - his peerless "House Through Time" series utterly captivated me and he accidentally became somewhat of a local figurehead after his measured commentary on the dunking of Colston's statue in Bristol earlier this year. His tone is always deeply personal - hugely empathetic and his work is fundamentally about redressing the hard imbalance in British historical narratives.

    Black and British is a dense bit of TV history, centered loosely around the performative act of unveiling plaques, each episode is split up into perhaps five or so vignettes, little stories that end in a cathartic modern gathering of relatives or locals. It's a tremendously clever way of symbolically weaving the historical with the contemporary - and imbuing relevance onto distant incidents.

    In the five years since this was aired, the discussions had in it have become even more relevant, and the patchwork quilt of our collective national consciousness still needs heavy mending and far more nuance for the years ahead. The prevailing message this series instilled in me is that history isn't a clear narrative and our view of it is always tempered by who tells it and what they want to communicate. What they omit says just as much as what they include and I'm deeply grateful we have Olusoga's compassionate interpretation to add into the mix.
  • SnoopyStyle26 February 2019
    This is a 4-part documentary mini-series about the long history of Africans in Britain. The show hosted by historian David Olusoga leaves behind cast iron plaques to commemorate important black history throughout each episode. The first episode "First Encounters" examines the earliest Africans who were part of the Roman army occupying England. Lost African communities are rediscovered, long forgotten African ancestry is remembered, and ends with pre-colonial Africa. The second episode "Freedom" examines slavery in the empire including the lucrative slave trade, the American revolution, and Sierra Leone. The third episode "Moral Mission" takes a look at the post-abolition empire. It is not all peace and harmony. There is revolt in Jamaica as most property is still held by whites. The great moral Victorian mission to end slavery takes the form of the Royal Navy's The West African Squadron. The show follows a young slave given to Queen Victorian and finally the devastated cotton trade during the American Civil War. The fourth episode "The Homecoming" takes a look at race relationship in the last century in Britain during war and peace.

    This is like a college course into slavery and Britain. The first episode isn't much. I already knew about the African troops in the Roman army. If anything, white skin denoted barbarism back then. None of it is surprising but it is interesting to see evidence of black people. The second episode gets a bit interesting essentially looking at the American revolution from the British side. It does fail to mention the Book of Negroes. If that lady knew the Crowd paid for the slaves, it may push her more one way rather than the other. The third episode is the best and the history I know the least about. The fourth episode is reminiscent of many other modern racism and isn't surprising. I like that this series take a well known subject matter and looks at it from a different angle.
  • seanthethatcher7 July 2022
    1/10
    Lies
    Deliberate misleading of the British people.

    No continuous presence at all. Severus was not black. Why does he feel the need to lie to make black people feel included. The BBC are gullible. The skull isotope analysis was also a lie. Zero evidence of it being African. Why David. ? You made a good doc about Britain's crusade to end slavery prior to this.

    You're a charlatan and a grifter.
  • This series is so inspiring. It's interesting, moving, and the score is just wonderful. 10/10