A dazzling, landmark history of Africans in Europe, revealing old and diverse links between the two continents.
The presence of people of African descent in Europe is widely believed to be a recent phenomenon, but as early as the third century, St Maurice - an Egyptian - was said to have become leader of the legendary Roman Theban Legion. Ever since, there have been richly varied encounters between those defined as 'Africans' and those called 'Europeans'.
In African Europeans, Olivette Otele traces a long heritage of African Europeans through the lives of individuals both ordinary and extraordinary. She uncovers a forgotten past, from Emperor Septimius Severus to enslaved Africans living in Europe during the Renaissance, all the way to present-day migrants moving to Europe's cities. By exploring a history that has been long overlooked, she sheds light on questions very much alive today - on racism, identity, citizenship, power and resilience.
This is a landmark account of a crucial but overlooked thread in Europe's complex history.
(P)2020 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
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.
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.
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.
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.