Black Britain: A History of Struggle and Triumph

  • Number of weeks

    6 weeks

  • Day & time

    Tuesdays at 6.30-8.30pm

  • Dates

    Spring 2017:

    17 Jan-21 Feb

    Summer 2017:

    9 May - 20 June (no class 23 May)

    Spring 2018:

    16 Jan-20 Feb

Course overview


Elizabeth Williams


Goldsmiths, Richard Hoggart Building

Department History

What is the origin of the London carnival? Why is Bob Marley and reggae music so popular in Britain? Why is Brixton, Peckham and Hackney and other boroughs in London so vibrant with Caribbean music, food, styles, ways of speaking and culture?

This short course is for anyone seeking to explore and share their experiences of the history and cultural roots of Black people and ‘Black culture’ in London. You will learn how it came to be that Britain was a key destination for migrating workers from the Caribbean in the 1960s and why so many of us love to holiday in the Caribbean! The course will highlight the contribution of people of African descent to the rich history and culture of Britain and will explore film, photography, literature and biography that will generate great conversation. This course will deepen your understanding of one of the most vibrant communities in the diversity of London and it will provide a good introduction to history of London courses in History, literature courses in the English department, sociology, anthropology, politics and more.  

You will be lead through this exciting journey by Dr Elizabeth M. Williams a historian, a writer and keen film buff who has travelled widely. 

What skills will you develop on this short course?

  • Gain an understanding of key historical themes in the scholarly interpretation of the Black presence in Britain
  • Develop an understanding of the historical continuities and interconnectivity between black and white citizens in British society and transnational networks 
  • Participants will develop a critical and evaluative perspective of issues surrounding the discourse of the multicultural make-up of Britain

Course Structure

Week 1 - Early 20th century Black Britain 

Week 2- Arrival & everyday living 1950-1970s 

Week 3 - Educating Britain: popular culture 

Week 4 - Pressure! 1980s 

Week 5 - International solidarity 

Week 6 - End of the century beginning of the next: competing multiculturalisms

Course dates:

Class 1 - Tues 9th May

Class 2 - Tues 16th May

(1 week break)

Class 3 - Tues 30th May

Class 4 - Tues 6th June

Class 5 - Tues 13th June

Class 6 - Tues 20th June

How to Apply

Please click on the date of the course you'd like to attend below. You’ll be taken to Eventbrite, which is our booking system:



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