Historian David Olusoga, explores the lives of some of the hundreds of black migrants who were in England during the Tudor period of the 1500s. Olusoga visits The National Archives in Kew, where he meets Dr. Miranda Kaufmann who has researched the lives of more than 200 of these people. Most were living ordinary lives, working in domestic service or the cloth trade, but there were exceptions. They discuss John Blanke, a trumpeter in the court of Henry VIII, who was so well established that he actually submitted a request for a pay rise, and a diver, Jacques Francis, who gave evidence in a court case. Dr. Kaufmann concludes that some black people in England were accorded greater privileges than many white English people at the time.

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Teach

This could be used to introduce lessons on Africans in Tudor England. Students could discuss how historians and archaeologists discover the presence of migrants in that period from parish and court records, tax returns, human remains etc. Before watching, students could examine the documents about Blanke and Francis and discuss what they tell us, then see what Dr Kaufmann concludes. The conclusion that black people were accepted could prompt comparison with other migrant groups at the time. Students could look at other contemporary documents to consider what they suggest about attitudes to black people. Students could discuss the reconquest of Spain from the Moors and attacks by English privateers on Spanish and Portuguese slave ship, and how this might have been a cause of migration?