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Black Arsenal

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British & Irish history, Black & Asian studies, Ball games, Football (Soccer, Association football)

A celebration in essays and photography of the contribution of Arsenal football club to Black British cultural history

Arsenal is special. Its multicultural fandom reflects a changing city and a unique relationship with Black British popular culture. Thanks to its decades of fielding iconic Black players on the pitch and the storied and diverse histories of its terraces, Arsenal has emerged as a powerful symbol of what an organic and convivial multiculture can be.

From the earliest hints in the late 1960s that something remarkable was happening, up to Arsenal's ascendence as a global organisation, Black Arsenal is the first dedicated exploration of the club's relationship to contemporary Black identity and culture. It sees the club's affinity with Black identity transcend football and spread across cultures: in the media, music, fashion, politics and everyday social experiences. Explored through a combination of stunning photography and rare archival images, Black Arsenal examines how a new Black iconography emerged at Arsenal at key moments in British history that became crucial to the creation of new forms of Black identification.

With contributions including former legends Ian Wright and Paul Davis, critical appraisals from Paul Gilroy, Gail Lewis and Clive Chijioke Nwonka, and personal responses from Clive Palmer, Ezra Collective, Amy Lawrence and others, Black Arsenal encounter the moments, stories and experiences of how Arsenal became an important and underexamined feature of modern Black British culture and identity.

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