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African Europeans


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About the Author

Olivette Otele Ph.D., FRHistS is Distinguished Professor of the Legacies and Memory of Slavery at SOAS, University of London. Her area of research is colonial and post-colonial history and the histories of people of African descent. She has received several major research grants looking at the African diaspora and the Atlantic slave trade and has led projects working with local communities in England, Wales, Canada, and West Africa to understand how the history of the transatlantic slave trade is still impacting the population today. Otele holds a Ph.D. in History from Universite Paris, La Sorbonne, France. and received an honorary doctorate in Law from Concordia University in Canada. She is a Fellow and former Vice President of the Royal Historical Society and has been a judge of the International Man Booker Prize. As well as having written numerous scholarly papers and books, Professor Otele is also a regular contributor to the press, television and radio programmes including the BBC, Sky News, Guardian, Sunday Times, Elle Magazine, Huffington Post, and The New Yorker.


This is a book I have been waiting for my whole life. It goes beyond the numerous individual black people in Europe over millennia, to show us the history of the very ideas of blackness, community and identity on the continent that has forgotten its own past. A necessary and exciting read
*Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)*

This is a book that all must read now. This story has been lived not just for centuries but for millennia, all the while being consistently suppressed, denied or untold. Searing scholarship and heightened humanity combine to illuminate, appal, explore and ultimately inspire
*Bettany Hughes, historian and broadcaster*

Fascinating . . . One of the book's great pleasures is its cast of memorable characters [and] though this is a work of synthesis, it's an unusually generous and densely layered one
*The Guardian*

People of African heritage have contributed greatly to Europe's music, literature and more. But their achievements have long been overlooked . . . African Europeans works to bring more of this past to public attention
*Wall Street Journal*

Fascinating. Otele reconnects us with the men and women who came from Africa to shape European history: rulers, diplomats, slaves and soldiers-above all, our ancestors
*Dan Snow, historian and broadcaster*

Superbly researched . . . This richly layered history brims with stories of how African Europeans contributed to the culture, politics and language in the countries they lived in . . . This book is more than just the stories of interesting lives; it is also a careful study of the scholarship on these individuals

A thrilling, informative read
*LSE Review of Books*

A brilliant, important and beautifully written book that forces us to think about the past differently
*History Today*

Yoking together the ''African'' and the ''European'', too often treated as entirely separate categories, Otele skilfully invites her reader to navigate the multiple intersecting worlds inhabited by her characters. This is fundamentally reparative writing that undoes the cultivated ignorance around race and blackness in Europe and shows us what is irrefutably true that black history is European history, indeed, world history
*Priyamvada Gopal, author of Insurgent Empire*

Olivette Otele is a scholar with a vivid intellect and a deep sense of right and wrong. African Europeans forces us to reassess the past so that we can imagine a different future
*Fiammetta Rocco, chief culture writer, The Economist*

Important, exciting and illuminating. Otele takes us through centuries of history we think we know, but shifts the lens onto those have been deliberately excluded from traditional historical narratives. This book will change how you look at the past and introduce you to wonderful characters with rich and revealing lives
*Janina Ramirez, historian and TV presenter*

Rich in storytelling, discovery, question-making and a way forward, African Europeans covers no old ground. This is new and European history itself is not complete without this book
*Bonnie Greer, playwright, novelist and broadcaster*

A magisterial book brilliant, humane and gripping, and a call to arms for an end to violence and subjugation. Otele explores the individual lives of African Europeans against great shifts of history, and the result is a masterpiece
*Kate Williams, historian and broadcaster*

The scope of Otele's research is awesome, as is her unflinching analysis of the shifting prisms through which African Europeans particularly women have had to contest their identities. Full of powerful stories with deep roots and livid scars, African Europeans is scholarly, revelatory and important
*Jessie Childs, author of God's Traitors and Henry VIII's Last Victim*

The first survey this century of the fascinating 2,000-year-long history of Africans in Europe. Otele's masterful narrative weaves together the lives of prominent figures St Maurice, Jacobus Capitein, Manga Bell, Paulette and Jane Nardal with those of everyday people
*Hakim Adi, author of Pan-Africanism: A History*

A nuanced, thoughtful retelling of the stories of African Europeans, with extraordinary scope. Otele triumphs in her commitment to countering the experiences of the privileged with those of the enslaved. This is a learned, impassioned and searingly important history
*Suzannah Lipscomb, historian and broadcaster*

An extensive rendition of African European history from the third century to the 21st... A thorough, dynamic, accessible narrative that pulls together disparate strands into a unique, fresh history
*Kirkus Reviews*

A dazzling history of Africans in Europe, revealing their unacknowledged role in shaping the continent . . . African Europeans is a landmark celebration of this integral, vibrantly complex slice of European history, and will redefine the field for years to come

Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this is an essential work of historical scholarship that is highly recommended for all public and academic libraries
*Library Journal*

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