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Black People in Britain: History and the Historians

Part of the series Black People in Britain
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Ian Duffield looks at the invisibility of black people in histories of Britain.

Until very recently, black people of African origin or descent were, to echo the title of Ralph Ellison's famous novel of the black American experience in a white dominated society, the 'invisible men' of British history. Most British people, black or white, usually suppose that the black presence in Britain is entirely modern, a consequence of post-1945 immigration, but nothing could be more mistaken.


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