“The more you try to forget your past, the more it will haunt you. Face it, learn from it, and then you can let it go.”


The UK continues to struggle with its relationship with racism. Well, maybe it’s not accurate to describe it as a struggle as the government continues to deny that institutional racism exists.

The United Nations takes a different perspective though. They have already determined that discrimination against people of African descent is structural, institutional and systemic ahead of a report due to be published in September 2023.

Until people take the time to understand Britain’s history, they will fail to see the reality of how embedded racism and discrimination is in their cultural psyche. These books offer diverse perspectives and critical insights into the role of Britain in slavery and colonialism, providing readers with a deeper understanding of this complex historical legacy.

“Black and British: A Forgotten History” by David Olusoga

22Black And British A Forgotten History22 By David Olusoga
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In this book, David Olusoga provides a comprehensive exploration of the relationship between Britain and people of African descent. He delves into the forgotten history of black individuals in Britain, highlighting their contributions and achievements throughout the centuries. The book meticulously examines the role of Britain in the transatlantic slave trade, shedding light on the economic interests, political dynamics, and moral justifications that fuelled the institution of slavery. Olusoga also explores the impact of colonialism on Africa and the Caribbean, revealing the lasting consequences that persist today. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, Olusoga’s work challenges conventional narratives and offers a powerful examination of Britain’s complex relationship with race and empire.

“Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging” by Afua Hirsch

22British On Race Identity And Belonging22 By Afua Hirsch
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Afua Hirsch shares her personal experiences and reflections on growing up in Britain as a British-Ghanaian. Drawing on her background as a lawyer, journalist, and broadcaster, Hirsch critically examines the concept of British identity and its relationship with race. She explores the historical roots of Britain’s colonial past and its influence on present-day racial dynamics, highlighting the challenges faced by individuals of diverse backgrounds in navigating issues of identity and belonging. Hirsch delves into topics such as education, politics, and media representation, providing thought-provoking insights into the complexities of race, racism, slavery and colonialism in contemporary British society.

“Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain,” by Trevor Phillips

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In “Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain,” Trevor Phillips examines the profound impact of the Windrush generation on shaping a multicultural Britain. Focusing on the Caribbean immigrants who arrived in Britain after World War II, Phillips delves into their experiences, challenges, and contributions to British society. The book explores the social, political, and cultural changes that unfolded as a result, highlighting the struggles for acceptance, equality, and integration faced by these communities. Through personal narratives, historical analysis, and contemporary perspectives, Phillips presents a compelling narrative that reflects the complexities and triumphs of the Windrush generation in their quest for a place in British society.

“White Teeth” by Zadie Smith

22White Teeth22 By Zadie Smith
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“White Teeth” by Zadie Smith is a novel that captures the multicultural reality of modern-day Britain. The story revolves around the lives of two friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal, who hail from different cultural backgrounds. Through their intertwined stories, Smith explores themes of identity, assimilation, and the lingering effects of slavery and colonialism. The book presents a tapestry of characters representing diverse ethnicities, religions, and generations, offering a panoramic view of contemporary British society. While “White Teeth” does not focus exclusively on Britain’s role in slavery and colonialism, it subtly raises questions about the legacy of imperialism and how it continues to shape the lives of individuals and communities in a globalized world.

“The Long Song” by Andrea Levy

22The Long Song22 By Andrea Levy 1 1
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Set in Jamaica during the final years of slavery and the early years of emancipation, “The Long Song” by Andrea Levy tells the powerful story of July, a young enslaved woman. Levy vividly portrays the brutal conditions of slavery and the complex power dynamics between slaveholders and the enslaved. Through July’s perspective, the reader witnesses the resilience, agency, and struggles of those living through this oppressive system. The novel provides a nuanced exploration of the impact of slavery on individuals, families, and society, capturing both the horrors of the past and the resilience of the human spirit.

“Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire” by Andrea Stuart

22Sugar In The Blood A Familys Story Of Slavery And Empire22 By Andrea Stuart 1 1
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In “Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire,” Andrea Stuart delves into her own family history to uncover the connections between her ancestors and the sugar industry, slavery and colonialism. With meticulous research and personal anecdotes, Stuart explores the economic, social, and cultural impact of the sugar trade on both sides of the Atlantic. She traces the intertwined histories of her family and the sugar plantations in Barbados, providing a profound understanding of the legacies of slavery and empire. By weaving together personal narratives and historical analysis, Stuart offers a compelling exploration of the lasting consequences of Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade and colonial endeavors.

“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” by Olaudah Equiano

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Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano,” provides a firsthand account of his experiences as an enslaved African and his subsequent journey to freedom. Equiano vividly describes the horrors of the Middle Passage, the brutalities of slavery, and the role of British slave traders in perpetuating the institution. His narrative serves as a powerful indictment of the slave trade and sheds light on the complicity of Britain in the enslavement of Africans.

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