David Olusoga, British Historian and Professor

Published on29 JUL 2021

In this episode of Talks at GS, writer and broadcaster David Olusoga discusses the significance of Windrush day, which celebrates of the contributions of the Caribbean community to British society, and his work exploring the Black experience in the UK and slavery in the British empire.

On Windrush Day: “We should think of it not just as an historical anniversary, but as an achievement…Our history is now part of national history because Black populations and communities in this country are fortunate to be part of that history... We've forced our stories that had been deliberately excluded because they're difficult stories of slavery and empire. We forced them into the national conversation where they always belonged because you can't tell the story of Britain without telling the story of Britain's relationship with Africa and people of African heritage."

On developing a passion for history: “The culture was saturated in the Second World War. All the films on television on a Sunday were war films…Every Christmas they would play the film Bridge on The River Kwai… So I was obsessed with the Second World War. And then one day my mother sort of confronted me and said, ‘Do you know Nigerians fought in the war?’  And I almost didn't believe her. And she said, ‘In Lagos, there's a war memorial to your ancestors who fought in that one war and in the First World War.’ And it was the first time I'd ever thought that there were Black people in history…And in some ways that was the pivotal moment."


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The episode was recorded on June 22, 2021.

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