Black Tudors

In 2007, the anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade within the British Empire led both to self-congratulation and blame. But it had the effect of stimulating considerable research into the British relationship to slavery. One event that year was the launch of the Oxford Companion to Black British History at a relatively lavish party at the House of Lords, hosted on behalf of OUP by Baroness Scotland, barrister and politician. Your blogger had contributed to the Companion and attended what was a rather splendid party and drank a great deal of champagne. The party was replete with the great and the good in the field, as well as many lesser mortals such as your blogger. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event, and a worthy launch of an important collection.

At that party, your blogger had the pleasure of meeting Miranda Kaufmann, another contributor, then working on her doctorate at Oxford. Miranda was clever, enthusiastic, and charming, and your blogger thoroughly enjoyed meeting her, and has met her again from time to time when she has visited Edinburgh for research or to give a paper. She has now published a book based on her D.Phil. and on further research., entitled Black Tudors: The Untold Story (London: Oneworld, 2017). In this book, many myths about black people in England in the Tudor period are refuted. The author shows explores the lives of a number of black Tudors of both sexes who were sailors, weavers, and those living quiet ordinary lives; but these were not men and women as victims, but individuals living out their lives, marrying, raising families, making wills, testifying in courts of law, and, in one instance, whipping, with impunity, a white Englishman in the hall of a manor house.

The book is accessible (ignore the fact it originated in a doctoral thesis), informative, and with significant implications. It is to be recommended. See