The Digital Archive Box

Immerse yourself in our series of virtual exhibitions on the Google Cultural Institute. Drawing from our extensive collection, we use archive materials to share the stories of Black British history.

Black Women in Britain








Black women have been part of British history for centuries. The contributions and lives of Black women have embodied the qualities of courage, intelligence and independence; having built communities, raised families, and against often overwhelming odds, carved out identities as pioneers, activists and artists. By retrieving and re-imagining them, we honour this history.

View Black Women in Britain.


Black Britons in the Archives








Throughout the last 200 years, people of African descent have made great contributions to the shaping of modern Britain. Explore the individuals, communities, events and pivotal moments that have aided in the shaping of the core values that are celebrated in Britain today such as democracy, equality and individual liberty.

View Black Britons Through the Archive.


Black and British: A Forgotten History

A BBC and Black Cultural Archives collaboration








Part 1: First Encounters

Find out about the enduring relationship between Britain and the people whose origins lie in Africa. In this first part discover how the story begins as far back as Roman Britain and includes the ground-breaking relationship between a former slave and the author of the most famous dictionary in the English language, Dr Samuel Johnson. (A BBC / Black Cultural Archives collaboration).

View Black and British: A Forgotten History Part 1

Part 2: Freedom

From the birth of the slave trade, to the founding of Freetown in Sierra Leone, find out how the concept of freedom was used and abused, denied, claimed and corrupted in one of the most dramatic and shocking chapters in the black history of Britain.   (A BBC / BCA collaboration)

View Black and British: A Forgotten History Part 2

Part 3: Moral Mission

Explore the Victorian moral crusade against slavery, and its flaws.  Find out how Queen Victoria came to take a black girl under her protection; why the mill workers of Rochdale stood in solidarity with enslaved Africans in the American South; and remember the victims of a tragedy in Jamaica.(A BBC / BCA collaboration)

View Black and British: A Forgotten History Part 3

Part 4: The Homecoming

In the next and final exhibition, The Homecoming: the three African kings who stood up to Empire; an irresistible crooner; race riots in Liverpool, and the shaping of black British identity in the 20th century. Coming soon: 25 November.

In partnership with