The City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton, Bilston and District Trades Union Council are working together to provide local schools and libraries with copies of a landmark book which honours the achievements of Black people throughout history.

The book, 100 Great Black Britons, is written by author, broadcaster and social commentator Patrick Vernon, who grew up in the Pennfields area of the city, and Dr Angelina Osborne. 

It celebrates the lives, stories, achievements and contributions of key Black British individuals over history, including new role models and previously little known figures. Among those featured are West Midlands personalities Benjamin Zephaniah, Lenny Henry and Wolverhampton’s own Beverley Knight.

Yvonne Davis, a retired primary school headteacher originally from Wolverhampton, is leading a campaign to get books into every school in Britain, and the council and TUC are in the process of purchasing a copy for each of the city's schools and libraries.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "100 Great Black Britons is an important investigation into the role Black Britons have played in our island’s history over the past 1,000 years and brings many unjustly neglected figures vividly to life.

"This is a superb opportunity to support a local writer and role model while demonstrating the council's ongoing commitment to equality, diversity and the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“As an ex-history teacher I am very aware that history can seem like the history of white men and their deeds. The truth is more complex. It is important that we are all aware of the contributions of Black lives to the processes that have shaped our world – people like Mary Seacole, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

“We hope that, by making this book available in our schools and libraries, readers of all ages will enjoy discovering more about the impact that 100 very important individuals have had, and continue to have, on British history.”

Nick Kelleher, Secretary of Wolverhampton, Bilston and District Trades Union Council, added: "100 Great Black Britons celebrates the continued legacy and achievements of Black people in Britain and given that Patrick Vernon is also a local role model, our delegates felt that this was a perfect campaign to undertake in Wolverhampton."

For more details, please visit 100 Great Black Britons.