Testimonials

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

“I’m delighted to see the relaunch of 100 Great Black Britons. Black Londoners have played an important role in the success of our city for centuries, but for too long the contribution of Britons of African and Caribbean heritage have been underestimated, undervalued and overlooked. From Mary Prince becoming the first woman to present a petition to Parliament to Sir Trevor McDonald anchoring the News at Ten, generations of black Britons have blazed a trail. It is only right that we once again come together to recognise and celebrate them.”

Arike Oke, Managing Director Black Cultural Archives

"Black Cultural Archives is the home of Black British History, so we are delighted that 100 Great Black Britons is coming back to remind the nation of our homegrown heroes. Personally, as the Managing Director of Black Cultural Archives I’m intrigued to see who will make this list, and I’m especially keen to see the untold tales, and unsung heroes, that may make the list this time. The story of people of African and of Caribbean decent in the UK is part of the fabric of British history. We built Britain together. The new 100 Black Britons will be another chapter in the complex and rich story of our small island."

Catherine Ritman-Smith, FRSA, Head of Learning and Skills, Somerset House Trust

“The 100 Great Black Britons campaign is a wonderful initiative that shines a spotlight on Black history, celebrates Black Britons now, and builds awareness and pride in the rich cultural tapestry of our country. Somerset House is delighted to have launched the nominations for 100 Great Black Britons on the first National Windrush Day 2019, as part of a programme exploring the creative contributions of generations of Black pioneers. I am delighted to support the 100 Great Black Britons school’s competition. I hope it will encourage children and young people to participate in the nominations in celebrate of our nation’s diverse culture.”

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah Executive Director UK Black Pride

“The work of unearthing our pasts remains vital if we’re to truly understand and appreciate the possibilities of our collective future. Throughout history, Black people have contributed immensely to Britain, and have laid the foundations upon which so many of us have been able to forge paths in the present. I and UK Black Pride are delighted to support 100 Great Black Britons and to help ensure our queer Black histories and people are duly recognised and respected across society.”

Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust

“I am absolutely delighted to see the return of 100 Great Black Britons -it's high time and needed now more than ever. Celebrating Black Britons is important not just for all our children and teachers, but for society as a whole to see and learn about Black Britons across society.”

Trevor Sterling, Chair, Mary Seacole Trust

“In 2016 , history was made with the unveiling of a statue of Mary Seacole at St Thomas’s hospital in London, this was the first statue of a named black female anywhere in the UK. There is no doubt that this was a fitting symbol to recognise Mary Seacole’s contribution to Britain which, like so many other important Black Britons, had been ignored by the history books. The unveiling followed a 12-year campaign resulting in donations from across society – undoubtedly an important springboard was the fact that Mary Seacole was voted “The Greatest Black Briton” in 2004.The Mary Seacole Trust are delighted to support the re-launch of 100 Greatest Britons. There is no more important time than now, particularly considering recent events, to shine a light on the huge contributions made by black Britons also reflecting the many significant contributions made in the 16 years since the first vote. We believe that the greater the understanding of the contributions of black Britons through history, the greater the prospect of racial harmony and social equality. We commend Patrick Vernon for again championing this important endeavour for the recognition of Black Britons which will inspire others."

Dr Dwain A.  Neil,  OBE,  Chairman,  Reach Society

“Reach Society believes that it's important for the Black community to showcase its many men and women of action of action in order to inspire our young people to develop their potential to be the most they can be. Dr Patrick Vernon, OBE should be congratulated for leading this imaginative and important campaign."

Kimberly McIntosh ,Senior Policy Officer Runnymede Trust

“The Runnymede Trust is thrilled to see 100 Great Black Britons is back after its successful first run. Black people have long resided in Britain. And as historians uncover more sources, new stories of unsung figures are revealed, adding further vibrancy to our national story. Black people have been present and contributed to Britain long before the Empire Windrush docked in 1948. There were Black Tudors, Black Romans and even an 18th Century Black heiress that were living in Britain. The school’s competition is a great way to get students and teachers involved and celebrate our diversity. We hope this campaign encourages us to recognise and reflect on our shared past and some of the stories that played a part in the making of Britain, both for Black History Month and beyond.”

Yvonne Davis, Head Teacher Oakview Primary School St Albans, Hertfordshire

“There will be schools who celebrate Black History Month annually embedded in their curriculum. The 100 Great Black Britons is an excellent opportunity for these and others to share good practice and to be awarded.”

Liz Smith, Director of Learning and Engagement, National Portrait Gallery

“The National Portrait Gallery is delighted to be supporting 100 Great Black Britons. As a national Collection we seek to educate and inspire young people with the stories of those known and less known within our Collection and their impact on British history and culture. 100 Great Black Britons is a vital initiative to contribute to a more representative and relevant curriculum and ensure the impact of these inspiring individuals is full recognised. As part of this exciting new programme, I hope that the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection can provide a useful resource for teachers and students nationally as they engage with its programme of activities.”

Patrick Vernon OBE Founder of 100 Great Black Britons

“It is great after 16 years we are relaunching 100 Great Black Britons nomination process and producing a publication to support the campaign celebrating a thousand years of Black British history and achievement. It is even more crucial that our history is seen as part of the national narrative, especially in the context of Brexit, as British identity is going through change and we have a legitimate right and voice in the shaping of this economic, social and political transformation which will have an impact on future generations. By learning about our shared history and the impact of Black British history and successes, I hope we will no longer be marginalised or erased out of public consciousness for the next generation.”

Dr Angelina Osborne Co-author of 100 Great Black Britons

“I am delighted that we are relaunching the 100 Great Black Britons campaign with an accompanying publication that will assess the historical and contemporary contributions of Black Britons. Like Patrick, I agree that wider dissemination and embedding into the consciousness of all Britons of our shared history takes on an even greater urgency in the current social and political climate and where these contributions have often been overlooked or under explored.”

Duncan Proudfoot, publishing director of Robinson, an imprint of the Little, Brown Book Group

“Robinson are very excited to be supporting the relaunch of the 100 Great Back Britons nominations process, the results of which we will be honoured to publish in a 100 Great Black Britons book in September 2020. The need to acknowledge and celebrate the extraordinary achievements and contributions of people of African and Caribbean descent to British life is even more acute now, in the wake of the Windrush Scandal and given the impact of Brexit, than it was back in 2003. This will be an important and long-overdue book.”