Since writing my book, Black Tudors: The Untold Story (2017), I've continued my quest to bring the fascinating stories of the Africans who lived in Tudor England to the widest possible audience, particularly through giving my Black Tudors: Three Untold Stories talk in multiple locations, and working with teachers and educational publishers on my Teaching Black Tudors project... but this is taking it to another level!
The course is FREE to take, 6 weeks long (with about 4 hours of study a week) and is available to start anytime from Monday 12th July.
You'll meet a host of fascinating individuals, who some of you may remember from my book, including John Blanke, royal trumpeter to Henry VII and Henry VIII; Jacques Francis, a salvage diver on the wreck of the Mary Rose, Diego, who sailed the world with Francis Drake, and many more including a porter, a prince, a sailor, a prostitute and a silk weaver.
But this time, I'll be showing you the original documents that record these Black lives, and asking you to join the debate amongst historians about their true significance of the varied experiences of Black Tudors in the wider narrative of Black History, the long-standing Black presence in Britain, the origins of racial prejudice and enslavement and what it all means today. You will be able to formulate your own evidence-based arguments and discuss with fellow learners throughout the course.
I'm delighted that a number of experts I really admire have contributed to the course. From leading historians in the field of Black British History, to bright young things from the next generation of scholars, you’ll hear from them in video content each week. We have… drumroll please…
- David Olusoga, Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester, BAFTA award-winning TV presenter and producer, and the author of Black and British: A Forgotten History to help us situate Black Tudor History in its broader context.
- Michael Ohajuru, Renaissance art historian, founder of the John Blanke Project, guide to the Image of the Black in London Galleries, and my colleague at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, where we co-curate the What's Happening in Black British History? workshop series, to discuss John Blanke, the Westminster Tournament of 1511, and images of Africans in European Art.
- Kevin Dawson, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Merced, author of Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Cultures in the African Diaspora and experienced free diver, whose work examines Early Modern Atlantic African swimming, underwater diving and more, to talk about Jacques Francis, and the mechanics of Tudor salvage diving.
- Cassander Smith, Associate Professor of English at the University of Alabama, author of Black Africans in the British Imagination: English Narratives of the Early Atlantic World, specializing in early Black Atlantic literature and culture, to look at the lives of Prince Dederi Jacquoah and Diego, situating them in the wider stories of Tudor Trade with Africa and conflict with Spain in the Americas.
- Montaz Marche, writer, theatre director and PhD researcher at Birmingham University looking at the lives of Black women in 18-20th century Britain to explore the lives of African women in Tudor and early Stuart England.
- Wendy Lennon, Founder of ‘Shakespeare, Race & Pedagogy’, Fellow of the English Association, English teacher and postgraduate researcher at the Shakespeare Institute in Birmingham to give us an insight into the latest scholarship in the English Literature field, and discuss the pros and cons of using fiction to fill the gaps in the archival records.
- Sophie Merrix, PhD student at Lancaster University, Early Modern History editor at Epoch magazine, studying and mapping the lives of Africans in Stuart England, to provide us with some brilliant maps showing the locations of Africans as they appear in records across England.
It is also quite thrilling that talented actors Paterson Joseph and Honey Gabriel are the narrators for the short videos scattered throughout the course which introduce you to each of the African individuals from the book.
The FutureLearn format makes it all so accessible in bite-size steps, with great quality images and video content, as well as links to other outstanding online content – it's been brilliant to be able to share so much of this that didn't make it into the book or is brand-new. I'm so grateful to FutureLearn and the learning design team at Online Education Services for making this happen!
So, if you can't get enough of Black Tudors, want to do a deep dive into the archives; take a guided tour of all the latest scholarship; and discuss it all with like-minded individuals, this is the place to be!
You can enrol for FREE now to take the 6 week course at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/black-tudors
And, if you haven't already, buy a copy of my book, Black Tudors: The Untold Story, also available on Kindle and Audible, which will be a great accompanying text for the course.
And talk about the course on social media using the hashtag #FLBlackTudors