"Highly readable yet intensively researched... lively prose and fascinating microhistories, [BLACK TUDORS] should draw some well-deserved attention." -- Publishers Weekly , Starred Review "A highly instructive history of an understudied part of Tudor society. An eminently readable book that offers contemporary readers valuable insights into racial relations of centuries past." -- Kirkus Reviews "For a modern audience acculturated to thinking of Africans in the West as either enslaved or altogether absent, the picture that emerges challenges the centrality of whiteness and slavery in the Tudor period." -- Foreword Reviews A black porter publicly whips a white English gentleman in a Gloucestershire manor house. A heavily pregnant African woman is abandoned on an Indonesian island by Sir Francis Drake. A Mauritanian diver is dispatched to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose... Miranda Kaufmann reveals the absorbing stories of some of the Africans who lived free in Tudor England.
From long-forgotten records, remarkable characters emerge. They were baptized, married and buried by the Church of England. They were paid wages like any other Tudors. Their stories, brought viscerally to life by Kaufmann, provide unprecedented insights into how Africans came to be in Tudor England, what they did there and how they were treated. A ground-breaking, seminal work, Black Tudors challenges the accepted narrative that racial slavery was all but inevitable and forces us to re-examine the seventeenth century to determine what caused perceptions to change so radically.