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  • Black England

  • A Forgotten Georgian History
  • By: Gretchen Gerzina
  • Narrated by: Debra Michaels
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Black England cover art

Black England

By: Gretchen Gerzina
Narrated by: Debra Michaels
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Summary

A powerful history of the forgotten lives of black Georgian Britain.

Georgian England had a large and distinctive black community. Yet all of them, prosperous citizens or newly freed slaves, ran the risk of kidnap and sale to plantations. Their dramatic, often moving story is told in this audiobook.

The idea that Britain became a mixed-race country after 1945 is a common mistake. Even in Shakespeare's England, black people were numerous enough for Queen Elizabeth to demand their expulsion. She was, perhaps, the first to fear that whites would lose their jobs, yet her order was ignored without ill effects.

By the eighteenth century, black people could be found in clubs and pubs, there were churches for black people, black-only balls and organisations for helping black people who were out of work or in trouble. Many of them were famous and respected: most notably Francis Barber, Doctor Johnson's esteemed manservant and legatee; George Bridgetower, a concert violinist who knew Beethoven; Ignatius Sancho, a correspondent of Laurence Sterne; and Francis Williams a Cambridge scholar. But many more were ill-paid, ill-treated servants or beggars, some resorting to prostitution or theft. And alongside the free world there was slavery, from which many of these black Britons escaped. The triumphs and tortures of black England, the ambivalent relations between the races, sometimes tragic, sometimes heart-warming, are brought to life in this well-researched and wonderfully listenable account.

The black population of Georgian England had been completely ignored until this audiobook changed the conversation, clearing the way for a new kind of history based on the experiences of ordinary people rather than the ruling classes.

©2022 Gretchen Gerzina (P)2022 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Black England

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this enlightening English , black history book part of our heritage that has been denied us for decades. Long may this research continue.

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Very informative and educational

An absolute eye opener and inspiring magnificent quality of work.
I will thoroughly recommend it

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An incisive exploration

This book is largely focussed on the latter half of the 18th C in England and is a series of in-depth mini-biographies of significant black figures in that context, along with broader reflections.

Although it covers a relatively short period of Black British history, and focuses entirely on England and mostly London, it succeeds in clearly presenting the complicated lives of racialised individuals and communities.

Gerzina does a superb analysis.

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i learned so much!

this was a really good and informative book, I loved the Zadie Smith foreword, everything is very well written and it is also entertaining

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