More than 100 years after his death,
A.B.C. Merriman-Labor’s Britons Through Negro Spectacles gets the recognition it deserves!
So today, Penguin republished Britons Through Negro Spectacles as part of its “Black Britain Writing Back” series. The Booker-Award winning writer Bernardine Evaristo choose it for the series and has written a wonderful introduction. Steve Martin and I provided notes.
Listen, if you have not read Britons Through Negro Spectacles, now is the time! Here’s what Evaristo says:
In Britons Through Negro Spectacles Merriman-Labor takes us on a joyous, intoxicating tour of London at the turn of the 20th century. Slyly subverting the colonial gaze usually placed on Africa, he introduces us to the citizens, culture and customs of Britain with a mischievous glint in his eye. This incredible work of social commentary feels a century ahead of its time, and provides unique insights into the intersection between empire, race and community at this important moment in history.
As for me, I’m thinking back to the day that I first read Britons more than a dozen years ago. There were only a handful of copies in the U.S., so I had to order it through interlibrary loan. I remember holding it in my hand, carefully turning over the first page, and quickly falling in love. Who was this hilarious man? Why was no one reading this remarkable book?
Thanks to Bernadine and Penguin, many thousands of people will now have this great reading experience!