New studies have found that 50 per cent of Britons cannot name a single Black British historical figure.
Researched commissioned by Bloomsbury discovered that around 75 per cent of Britons either do not know "very much" or simply "anything" about Black British history among those surveyed.
Despite recent progress to have stories of heroic black individuals emerge from obscurity, these narratives are slow to gain attention in the UK. Netflix's Queen Charlotte is in in itself known to be historically inaccurate, probing the question of where many are acquiring their historical knowledge.
Since awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize are not given posthumously, either, some heroic and historical figures may never be able to share in the honour of contributing to the world.
Here are 10 Black historical figures who have been forgotten in spite of their contributions.
Jacques Francis (1527 to unknown)
Jacques Francis was a Black African man who played a rather significant role in royal Tudor society. During his reign, King Henry VIII hired him as a diver to recover lost items from his ships, including from the famous warship the Mary Rose. Early modern society believed such jobs were better suited to African men.
Francis was paid well to manage difficult tasks, such as raising a heavy cannon from the wreck.
Later, Francis was asked to deliver a witness statement in court, since it was believed one of the men he worked under, Piero Corsi, was stealing artefacts. Prosecution witnesses tried to have Francis’s testimony thrown out, referring to him as a slave or ‘infidel-born,’ which meant he couldn't give evidence. But Francis gave his deposition eventually, after successfully arguing he was Corsi's assistant, and was the first Black person to be recorded in court.
It is unknown when he died, as he drops from all records after that.
Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780)
The abolitionist, writer, and composer was the first Black man given the vote in the UK.Ignatius Sancho was born aboard a slave ship in the Atlantic Ocean and enslaved to a British family. He escaped and was taken in by the Second Duke of Montagu, who taught him to read and encouraged his interest in literature.
Sancho became a shopkeeper and thus, as a property owner, was eligible to vote. Women weren't given suffrage till 144 years later.Sancho was the first African prose writer in the UK, and published many essays, plays, and books, as well as composing music. He used his writing skills to publish letters in newspapers arguing for the abolition of the slave trade.
He died of a surfeit of good living, the gentleman's disease of gout, in 1780.
Queen Charlotte (1744-1818)
As avid viewers of Netflix's Queen Charlotte will know, Charlotte Sophia Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the wife of English King George III. However, much of her depiction can be taken with a generous pinch of salt.
Jamaican historian JA Rogers has asserted that the Queen from Germany had African ancestry. Other historians have claimed portraits of Charlotte showed her 'African' features.
However, this is all supposition and, despite possible Black ancestry through her Portuguese inheritance, it will probably never be known for sure. What is known is that she was a loyal wife to her husband, King George III, despite his "madness", although the stress badly affected her.
Charlotte was also keenly interested in the arts and botany. She helped expand Kew Gardens and is credited with introducing the Christmas tree to Britain, after decorating one for a Christmas party for children from Windsor in 1800.
Mary Seacole (1805-1881)
When British nurses are spoken of, Florence Nightingale generally comes to mind first. Along with her contributions to the field of health was Mary Seacole, who was born to a Scottish father and Jamaican mother.
She possessed a curiosity about healing and illness from early on, one which only grew. When, during the 1800s, yellow fever broke out, Mary worked with her mother to cure the ill using traditional Jamaican remedies.
However, she faced many obstacles, too. The War Office declined to send her to Crimea as a war nurse, a response to which Mary decided to take matters into her own hands. She funded her own travel abroad and established the 'British Hotel', where she would nurse wounded soldiers back to health.
Ira Aldridge (1807-1867)
Ira Aldridge was believed to be one of the greatest actors of his day, and moved to the United Kingdom from America after facing discrimination. However, he was always only ever expected to play white roles in Shakespeare plays – ones considered the ultimate test for an actor.
Although many had little faith in Aldridge to attain excellence, he became an award-winning actor. Aldridge even travelled across Europe and performed bilingual productions and proved that Black actors could succeed (despite the antiquated expectations regarding his roles).
Aldridge is the only actor of African-American descent honoured with a bronze plaque at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Dr Harold Moody (1882-1947)
Born in Jamaica, Harold Moody moved to the UK after securing a place at King' College London's medical school, finishing top of his class. However, he faced prejudice and was unable to secure a position, so set up his own practice in Peckham.
Dr Moody founded of the League of Coloured Peoples in 1931, to advance greater equality for Black people. The group fought against discriminatory housing and employment practices in the UK and aimed to improve race relations.
Dr Moody eventually became one of the most influential black men in Britain and a strong campaigner who believed education was an instrument for tackling racism.
Sir Learie Constantine (1901-1971)
Sir Learie Constantine was a Black cricketer, lawyer, and politician who settled in Lancashire after arriving from Trinidad in 1928, and became the UK's first black peer.He served as Trinidad and Tobago's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and played 18 Test matches for the West Indies before the Second World War.
Constantine was allowed to sit in the House of Lords, partaking in political debates. He became known as an advocate of racial equality, and was influential in the passing of the 1965 Race Relations Act in Britain.
He was knighted in 1962 and made a life peer in 1969.
Sam Selvon (1923-1994)
Samuel Selvon, also known as Sam Selvon, was a Windrush migrant and novelist with Scottish and Trinidadian roots. He arrived in London in 1950 and went on to become a prolific author.
One of his most famous literary works to date remains The Lonely Londoners, which chronicles post-war Caribbean migration to the UK.
It holds a touch of humour, but mostly details the difficulties of exploring unchartered waters, where racism and trying to achieve a sense of belonging proved constant difficulties.
Claudia Jones (1915-1964)
Activist Claudia Jones campaigned on behalf of the Caribbean community. She was the founder of London Carnival, the forerunner to Notting Hill Carnival, in addition to founding the West Indian Gazette.
Her early experiences of racism in America shaped her thinking, including the way she thought about women and people of colour.
Jones is today still considered a contributor in laying the groundwork for intersectional feminism.
Olive Morris (1952-1979)
One of the country's first networks for Black women, Brixton Black Women's Group, was co-founded by Olive Morris. She was also a founding member of the Organisation of Women of Asian and African Descent (OWAAD).Despite living for a short 27 years, before passing away of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Morris was committed to struggling for racial, gender, and social equality throughout the world.