David Olusoga on why it's time to stop editing out the painful parts of our past and put black history on the curriculum

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

Historian David Olusoga says teaching black history should be part of the school curriculum so that the "uncomfortable" parts of Britain's story can be told.

Speaking on the first day of Black History Month, the author and film-maker said that teaching the stories of black Britons is not rewriting history, as "difficult chapters" have already been edited out of the curriculum.

"I think we've had a long habit in this country of wanting to edit out of our story the parts of our history that are difficult uncomfortable and painful," he said. 

"History has already been rewritten with those difficult chapters taken out and it’s those chapters that explain very often how we became the country we are and how people got here, their journeys to becoming British."

Mr Olusoga is a patron of The Black Curriculum, an initiative that delivers black history to schools and aims to make it mandatory in the UK.

He said that he hopes teaching black history will "become normal".

"That’s what I would like to see," he said. "When it becomes something you would obviously teach. We go out of way to avoid talking about black people.

"We talk about the Industrial Revolution but we don’t talk about the Cotton Revolution In the Deep South that fuelled those mills and factors . We keep editing out the stories when British power and black stories collided."

He has a new book for children coming out on Friday about black British history which, he said, is the something he would have "wished he'd read as a child".

He said that there is a desire for changes to the curriculum because the demands for change are coming from young people themselves.

"It is young people who are driving this big shift in concept about race," he said.

His latest book, Black and British: A Short, Essential History is an introduction to 1800 years of black British history from Roman Africans to present day aimed at children 12 and older.

Fifty pence from every copy sold this year will be donated to The Black Curriculum.

"What's missing (in the curriculum) are the linkages," he added. "The story of Africa and Africans are central to people's imaginations.

"Shakespeare writes about Africa, in the 18th century the issues about slavery and the slave trade are one of the biggest political issues, in the late Victorian era the scramble for Africa was the story of the day.

"This is just part of normal history. We need to stop ghettoizing it."

  • ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry on the campaign to get black history on the school curriculum