Black people in Tudor England are the focus of a new campaign being carried out by a Waltham Forest community group.
The group, Narrative Eye, wants to bring black British history and literature to a wider audience and last week lobbied Education Secretary Michael Gove to include black Tudors in the national curriculum.
Supported by Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, the group went to the House of Commons to argue that the contribution of black people to England’s history is a neglected issue.
Marchu Girma, Narrative Eye director, said black people from Tudor times are not mentioned in the national curriculum at all, despite significant contributions.
She said: “When we think of Tudor England we don’t automatically think of Africans being present.
“Instead we limit such an African presence to modern times, implying that cultural diversity is a relatively new concept in Britain.”
She said black people brought music, fashion and culture to the courts of Elizabeth I and Henry VIII.
Narrative Eye’s campaign revolves around a book recently published by the author in residence - Blackamoores, Africans in Tudor England, their Presence, Status and Origins.
Author Onyeka studied 250,000 documents during 10 years of research and the group says this is the first major historical publication focusing on Africans in Tudor England.
The publication emphasises the impact black people had in cities such as London, Plymouth, Bristol and Northampton.
Ms Creasy said at last weeks' meeting: “I want to thank Narrative Eye for being in Walthamstow and telling more stories rather than just one about the kind of community we are, and the kind of history we have as a nation, and therefore the kind of future our young people in Walthamstow can have.”
Miss Girma said Narrative Eye has been invited by Ms Creasy to carry out more workshops in Waltham Forest’s schools.
Narrative Eye has been conducintg workshops, lectures and presentations through Waltham Forest and Haringey since 2001.