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Black Tudors: The Untold Story

Discover the little-known history of Black Africans in Tudor England and challenge your preconceptions of Black history.

6,391 enrolled on this course

John Blanke on the Westminster Tournament Roll

Black Tudors: The Untold Story

6,391 enrolled on this course

  • 6 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
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    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Explore the forgotten lives of Black Tudors in Renaissance England

“Before the English founded their first surviving colony in the Americas, or began regularly trafficking enslaved Africans across the Atlantic, Africans lived free in Tudor England. ‘Black Tudors’ uncovers the experiences of men and women long forgotten by history.” – Dr. Miranda Kaufmann

Based on Miranda Kaufmann’s acclaimed 2017 book Black Tudors: The Untold Story, this course will take you on a vivid tour through the fascinating lives of Africans living in Tudor and early Stuart England.

Alongside Dr. Kaufmann, you’ll learn how to analyse historical documents and investigate archives, as you examine this often forgotten but vitally important period of Black history.

Examine Black history in England before the English colonial era

On this course, you’ll discover the real lives of ten historical figures who lived in England in the 16th and early 17th century and delve into the stories of many others.

By studying how Africans lived, worked, married, and died in English society before colonialism and enslavement, you’ll challenge common preconceptions about Black history, and discover what it was really like to live as a Black person in England at the time.

Become a historical detective

You’ll investigate archival material and develop your ability to evaluate and critique historical sources and artefacts. You’ll construct arguments that interrogate the past and uncover the era’s narrative themes.

Inform your opinion of Black history

You’ll examine important and topical debates around Black history, and delve into social and political issues around Black identity that – in the wake of Black Lives Matter – have never been more relevant.

Ultimately, you’ll come away with a fresh view of history, with transferable skills in critical thinking, discussion, and historical research.

What topics will you cover?

  • Who were the Black Tudors and what can they tell us about Black history, identity, and freedom?
  • How can their stories challenge preconceived narratives of Black history and in particular the later history of colonial enslavement?
  • What were the personal stories of Africans in sixteenth and early seventeenth-century England?
  • How can we use archival research methods to reconstruct the stories of Africans in Tudor and early Stuart England, and challenge preconceived assumptions?

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Investigate prior assumptions and preconceptions in narratives of the past informed by historical evidence in relation to Black History
  • Debate historical and contemporary issues in Black History informed by your reading of the book 'Black Tudors: The Untold Story' by Dr. Miranda Kaufmann
  • Evaluate text based and visual historical sources and manuscripts in order to provide sound interpretations of the past based on historical evidence
  • Explore historical archival material and develop your skills in searching, evaluating, interpreting and critical analysis of historical primary and secondary sources
  • Reflect on the lives of Black historical figures from the Tudor and early Stuart period inspired by historian Dr. Miranda Kaufmann’s narratives and your own interpretation of historical sources
  • Apply a variety of interpretations from different historians, learn to think about how the topic fits into the larger subject of Black History and begin to enter the debate, formulating your own analysis based on evidence

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about Black History, and in particular about a less well-known aspect of Black British History which challenges common assumptions about the historical experiences of Africans in Britain.

The course will be useful to teachers, archivists, museum and heritage sector workers looking to diversify the way they present Tudor History, and to students at all levels who want to improve their historical methods.

Who will you learn with?

I am the author of Black Tudors: The Untold Story, with research interests in Black British History; lives of Africans in 16th-18th century Britain; colonial connections & the legacies of enslavement.

I am an associate professor of English at the University of Alabama, specializing in early Black Atlantic literature and culture. I have published four books on the topic.

•Founder of Shakespeare, Race & Pedagogy
•English Association Fellow
•'English' journal Editorial Board
•British Shakespeare Association's Education committee
•English teacher

"I'm a writer, theatre director and researcher in modern black British History of 18-20th century. I'm the artistic director at Ruckus Theatre co. and a PhD researcher at Birmingham University.

I am an ESRC funded PhD student at Lancaster University studying the lives of Africans in Stuart England to analyse their experiences of early modern English culture society and economy.

An Institute of Commonwealth Studies Senior Fellow, I specialise in the Black presence in Renaissance Europe, direct the John Blanke Project and conduct Image of the Black in London Galleries tours.

Who developed the course?


FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform and has been providing high quality online courses for learners around the world over the last ten years.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 8 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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