Black Britain: A History of Struggle and Triumph


6 weeks

Day and time:

Tuesdays, 6.30-8.30pm

Next course: Date to be confirmed

Course overview

Related subjects

Cultural Studies

Department History

Elizabeth Williams


Richard Hoggart Building

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?

Elizabeth was extremely knowledgable and enthusiastic. The course was really well thought out in that it wasn't just a history course but a critical thinking course. Elizabeth had a great way of drawing different opinions together and finding a common unifying thread.

Participant, 2016

Wonderful to explore the content in the  context of a timeline, and links [to] a snapshot of what was happening in Lewisham nationally and internationally.

Participant, 2016

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

How to Apply

There are currently no future dates scheduled for this course. You can sign up to our Eventbrite waiting list here and we'll be in touch as soon as future dates have been announced.



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

Related content links