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John Blanke: Historian Perspectives and Theories

16th Century Image of John Blanke the Black Trumpeter at the Westminster Tournament
© Miranda Kaufmann

In the previous activities we started to explore some of the original primary sources which provide evidence about the life of John Blanke

Course contributor Michael Ohajuru’s John Blanke Project website introduces a selection of the varied perspectives, research and arguments of contemporary historians who have investigated Black British history in the Tudor period.

You’ll see that each historian, writer or artist responds to John Blanke in a different way depending on their research perspectives.

Exploring these secondary sources helps us to appreciate that there are a variety of interpretations of the evidence from different historians, and to see how the topic of this course fits into the larger subject of Black History.

You’ll find throughout this course that exploring both original primary sources, as well as secondary sources by historians, will help you to gain a deeper understanding of historic themes.

Explore and Reflect

Select two of the scholars from the historians page of the John Blanke Project website and contrast their differing perspectives in more detail.

Note down a short summary of the ideas of the historians you investigated and share your thoughts in the comments:

  • What themes did they explore and what was their interpretation of the story of John Blanke?

  • How do you think their ideas relate more widely to Black History?

You may have noticed that many of the historians present a very personal response to John Blanke – what’s your personal view?

Michael Ohajuru (2020) ‘Before and After the Eighteenth Century: The John Blanke Project’, in Britain’s Black Past, ed. Gretchen Gerzina, Liverpool University Press, pp. 7-26.
© Miranda Kaufmann
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Black Tudors: The Untold Story

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