A History of African and Caribbean People in Britain: Hakim Adi with David Olusoga

image of bookcover and speakers faces

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email: boxoffice@bl.uk

A Black people's history to transform our understanding of this country's past.

This event will take place at the British Library. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical), or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

The online version of this event will be live captioned.

Despite the best efforts of researchers and campaigners, there remains a tendency to reduce the history of African and Caribbean people in Britain to a simple story: one that begins in 1948 with the arrival of a single ship, the Empire Windrush, and one that continues mostly apart from a distinct British history, overlapping only occasionally amid grotesque injustice or pioneering protest.

Yet, as acclaimed historian Hakim Adi demonstrates in his new book, from the very beginning there have been African and Caribbean men and women set at Britain's heart. Libyan legionaries patrolled Hadrian's Wall while Rome's first 'African Emperor' died in York. In Elizabethan England, 'Black Tudors' served in the land's most eminent households while African explorers helped Sir Francis Drake circumnavigate the globe. And, as Britain became a major colonial and commercial power, it was African and Caribbean people who led the radical struggle for freedom – a struggle which raged throughout the 20th century and continues today in Black Lives Matter campaigns.

In conversation with fellow historian David Olusoga, Adi reveals some of this past and its impact on the present moment, shining a light on how much our greatest collective achievements – universal suffrage, our victory over fascism, the forging of the NHS – owe to these men and women.

Doors will open at 18.30 and the event will begin at 19:00.

Online event bookers can buy a copy of African and Caribbean People in Britain: A History with a ticket at checkout for £33 (with UK postage) and watch the event for free. International postage will be higher. Books will be posted out within 7 days after the event. Please ensure your address is up to date on your British Library account.

Hakim Adi is Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at the University of Chichester. Hakim was the first historian of African heritage to become a professor of history in Britain. In January 2018, he launched the world’s first online Masters by Research (MRes) programme on the History of Africa and the African Diaspora. Hakim is the founder and consultant historian of the Young Historians Project. He has appeared in many documentaries and has written widely on the history of Africa and the African Diaspora, including history books for children.  His latest publication is Africa and Caribbean People in Britain: A History – the focus of this event.  Other books by Hakim include: Pan-Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and the Diaspora, 1919-1939, Pan-Africanism: A History and, as editor Black British History: New Perspectives and Black Voices on Britain.

David Olusoga is a historian, author, presenter and BAFTA-winning film-maker. He is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester, the author of books including Black and British: A Forgotten History, which was longlisted for the Orwell Prize, shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize and won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. A children's edition, Black and British: A Short, Essential History was published in 2020. His television credits include Civilisations, Black and British, Our NHS: A Hidden History, A House Through Time and the BAFTA award-winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners. In 2019 he was awarded an OBE for services to history and community integration.

Image of Hakim Adi by Johnny Pitts


If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event. We are committed to the safety of our event bookers. Find out how we are welcoming you to the Library safely

The British Library is a charity. Your support helps us open up a world of knowledge and inspiration for everyone. Donate today.


Name: A History of African and Caribbean People in Britain: Hakim Adi with David Olusoga
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546