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  • Summary

  • In Search Of Black History with Bonnie Greer brings you face-to-face with the people you never knew existed. People whose stories tell us a different tale about who we all are. From the earliest glimmerings of modern humanity, up to the present day, Bonnie Greer uncovers the lives of people of African descent that don't fit with the accepted history of Western Civilisation we've traditionally been taught. From saints, to philosophers, to warrior women and king's heralds - these people's lives have been lost, hidden and distorted down the centuries. We've lost the full richness and complexity of our shared histories - it's time to fill in the gaps.

    In this eight part series, playwright and former Trustee of the British Museum, Bonnie Greer, travels with us through the ages, meeting the academics and experts who are uncovering these stories at the cutting edge of historical research, and she brings their subjects' lives to life - with an imaginative re-telling of their stories.

    This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 8 episodes to your Library now.

    ©2019 Audible, Ltd. (P)2019 Audible, Ltd.
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Episodes
  • Dec 19 2019

    We go back 300,000 years to meet our earliest human ancestors, and talk to the archaeologists uncovering the untold stories of modern human origins. Bonnie looks at the changing face of one of the earliest Europeans, and at how he is also changing our understanding of race.

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    40 mins
  • Dec 19 2019

    Bonnie discovers how differently ancient Greeks conceived of race, and meets the Queens of Kush: warriors, traders and diplomats who ruled the fabulous Kushite kingdom in what is now Sudan. They kept the Roman Empire at bay - and laughed in the face of Augustus Caesar.

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    50 mins
  • Dec 19 2019

    In the bone store at the Museum of London, Bonnie visits Londoners of African descent. Their skeletons tell a new story about Africa and Europe, in which Europe was the continent of starvation, disease and suffering, while Africans grew up healthy and strong. Bonnie discovers the magical power of Medieval blackness - used as a symbol of power in the struggle for world domination, between Christianity and Islam.

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    44 mins


By Bonnie Greer


When I recorded the first volume of my autobiography, A Parallel Life for Audible last year it was an emotional experience - to feel, from a distance, my own continued and ongoing fight against erasure of memory and therefore of truth. Black History Month is not just about history, it's about how history creates the now. Let's not erase or try to hide our history, let's talk about it. All of it: the good; the bad; the ambiguous; the transcendent. My history is the History of Africa, the History of Europe, the History of America and the History of Britain. I am all of these things. I am on both sides of every story.

Four things have helped me to have a kind of reclamation within myself (although it is an ongoing process): books; art; music; and the two million years of human history that is the British Museum. These things - and others - allow me to hold multiple perspectives; which is the only way, I have found, of being myself. Of being a Black Woman. Of being a Human Being.

What listeners say about In Search of Black History with Bonnie Greer

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Black women have an untold history.

Loved listening to this and will re-listen many times. Mainly because of the starting point being the eras long before transatlantic slavery. Complex, women-led societies rivalled the Roman Empire - not well known. Many new facts and details, very relevant right to the very present day in terms of eugenics, fake news, criminalization of black people. Heartbreaking stories of people who have more than overcome, but still stifled by institutional racism. Cleverly linking in the debates happening about decolonisation, returning artefacts to their land of origin, the role of museums, libraries, and universities as collectors, managers and knowledge creators. Lots to grapple with, and a realisation, that we are just barely scratching the surface. Chronology very helpful for a beginner like me.

28 people found this helpful

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A Brilliant piece

This was edifying and really refreshing, the special guests were knowledgeable and brought forth so many new questions, new paradigms. This is a must listen!

16 people found this helpful

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Breathtaking storytelling. Everyone should listen

The beauty, horror and complexity of black history told with passion and kindness- this was mind blowing for me. Being white and coming from Norway (which has been culturally secluded throughout most of history), black history was mainly unfamiliar to me. This wonderful series introduces us to intriguing personalities from the early African kingdoms, extraordinarily talented people who fought for their rights or gained power in a world we mostly think of as white - from antiquity to the renaissance; and we meet both the rebels and the collaborators during the slave trade. It is a balanced account showing both the good and the bad, it is moving and beautifully told and shows that black history is not just about suppression and suffering, but also pride, courage, success and diversity.
I feel immensely proud of my fellow (wo-)men who fought for freedom and also humbled when I am reminded how easily deluded and cruel we humans can be. This series is a true journey and an eye opener. Thank you!

15 people found this helpful

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an education for all

as a mixed race person, I've always taken a keen interest in learning more about my black heritage. this was a fresh look at history and introduced a number of new influential character which I will enjoy researching further.
this series is for people of all colours and backgrounds and well worth the time listening.

10 people found this helpful

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very Dull

The lack of information available on the parts of history they have chosen to focus on means much of this is purely speculative. cheesy music and condescending narration.

9 people found this helpful

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Too much irelevant noise

I've always admired Bonnie Greer and was delighted when I found this. However, after 15 minutes of struggling to hear what was being said over the excruciatingly irritating background noise which seemed to have no relevance to the text, I deleted it from my library. I cannot comment on the story because I didn't hear it

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Lacked depth of content, such a shame

So much more could have been made of this with better editorial. I was really looking forward to it but it just felt at times a little bit like every white listener might have total ignorance of wider cultural bias. Some of us totally get that things of merit happened outside Europe before we became colonisers, and have massive interest in the non European world.

I felt narration suggesting things like cheddar man had black skin and 'ice blue eyes' which is not what the scientist then said was the case, and bonnie greer inviting us to imagine certain things, were a bit wide of the mark.

A bit more scientific and historical fact and stats would have been nice at times rather than repeatedly pointing out that Britain has always been 'multicultural' or 'culturally diverse' since the time of the romans. I am perfectly aware there have always been ethnic minorities here, but sometimes she makes more of it than she needs to. Either this is expecting too little of listener's prior knowledge or it almost plays into the hands of the type of people who complain about the Liberal media, without meaning to.

I really wanted it to be more enjoyable and also just a little more succinct.

Also, please re arrange the episodes into order, it might make it a better experience!!

2 people found this helpful

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Worth a listen.

An interesting listen and almost certain to tell you some stories you've never heard before.

it felt a bit patronising at times and seemed to wobble between cleverly balanced research and the standard, woke 'Europe = bad' diatribe.

But if you have a long journey and can handle being reminded that Empire was bad and slavery is the only reason the west isn't a poverty stricken wasteland, them it's worth dipping into.

Caveat: if you suffer from racism, don't listen, it will almost certainly make you worse.

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What an eye opener! Great!

Loved it. So much info.
Couldn't get enough. Well voiced, well paced.
Planning to listen again, now.

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Needed

insightful, thought provoking & encourages research. A must listen to and more than just once

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mary St John
  • 28-06-20

New curriculum

This series is fantastic!! It should’ve taught in all American high schools
It needs to be available in paperback as well.

37 people found this helpful

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  • T. McTier
  • 13-09-20

Magi Were Powerful Men of High Status

I loved hearing this from the perspective of Bonnie Greer, except for her one mention that perhaps because the magi were depicted with so much gold that they were being shown as lower in status. I don’t see this. I have always had the assumption that in ancient times, those with higher statuses had more money to buy and wear gold and other jewelry. The gold signifies to me that these are powerful men with high statuses.

What I see is that the painting portrays powerful men, perhaps even kings in their country, who visited Jesus in recognition of His status as the Son of God, a child born of a lowly virgin woman in a minor Jewish town. It says to me that even the powerful paid homage to God’s Son. It also tells me that there were powerful countries in existence at that time led by black men.

12 people found this helpful

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  • bryan veal
  • 22-07-20

Exceptional work

I enthusiastically endorse this work and especially appreciate the perspective and unique historical facts. Bonnie Greer is also an excellent vocal presenter. My only complaint is that I couldn’t get an intense volume which left me struggling to hear at times.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Corey J. Brickers
  • 24-09-20

A Powerful Work of Black History

I’ve been looking for more information on the history of black people in the world. This was a powerful account of our power, greatness, and the terrible atrocities that were visited upon us throughout centuries. I am hopeful that brighter days are ahead.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle M.
  • 19-09-20

Good use of my time

Love this series. I will be searching for the visuals and listening to it again. Great job Ms. Greer. It interlaces with "The Myth of Race". You hit it out the park.
If you're looking to enlighten yourself about your African American heritage, this is another great addition.

3 people found this helpful

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  • danielle moses
  • 25-08-20

five stars.

greer gives the perfect introductory answer to the age old question - why are our history books so monochromatic?

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-08-20

Eye-opening conversations, amazing content.

There is a whole world of empowering historic figures and events I didn't know existed. This book has left me wanting to find more of these outstanding stories which make up my heritage. Thank you!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jade Minx
  • 31-07-21

Phenomenal

This podcast should be required in history survey courses all over the world. I learned so much about black history and I thought I knew it all. Very informative and entertaining. I hope it comes back with a second season!

2 people found this helpful

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  • D.M. Roberts
  • 28-07-21

Informative & gripping!!

I must admit, I was disappointed that it ended.... there is so much more to say and to teach.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Guillermo Perry
  • 23-09-20

Excellent body of work!

I love this material in so many ways. I really enjoyed how Madam Bonnie Greer was able to articulate the deeply guarded emotions of the African American community. I also love the way there are so many references of notable Black figures throughout history from all around the world. This podcast will remain, as a compendium of Black royalty, in my library and in the world for all to acknowledge. This work keenly sheds light upon the void left behind within the core of an entire culture of people, Black people, as a result of colonialism. As a Black male musician, the artistic content and perspective truly touched my heart. Thank you Madam Greer! You are worthy and deserved of all the honor that is owed to you! Ashe!

2 people found this helpful