The model and transgender activist Munroe Bergdorf, the artist and film director Steve McQueen and the Booker prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo are among the new names on a list celebrating key black individuals over the past 400 years.

Director Steve McQueen© Thomson Reuters Director Steve McQueen
The mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, businesswoman Sharon White and British Vogue’s first black editor, Edward Enninful, are among other new entries on the list of 100 great black Britons, whose stories are told in a book of the same name.

The list is a follow-up to the 2003-04 initiative, which was topped by the Crimean war nurse Mary Seacole, based on a public vote.

That was the brainchild of the Windrush campaigner Patrick Vernon and historian Dr Angelina Osborne, co-authors of the new book.

Vernon said: “There’s a key golden thread in the vast majority of the biographies that are covered in the book in that all the people never gave up, they struggled, whatever field they were in, or discipline or time period in history, they were ahead of the game and they never gave up.

“If that can inspire young people around our own personal goals, achievement and fighting for equality in Britain and learning and educating then I think that would be a fantastic legacy.”

Unlike 2003-04, the updated list, which is not ranked, has been compiled by a panel after members of the public were invited to submit nominations.

Vernon said the book could easily have been called 1,000 Great Black Britons, such was the number of nominations, all of whom have been listed in the book, alongside biographies of the top 100.

Asked whether things had improved for black Britons since the list was last compiled, he said: “It depends what metrics you are using. If you are talking about individual achievements, in the book we are celebrating people that we covered back in 2003-04, but there are new heroes that have been recognised – Lewis Hamilton wasn’t around in 2003-04, neither was Stormzy.

Munroe Bergdorf© Press Association Munroe Bergdorf
“But if you were to look at other metrics – inequalities in health, education, stop and search, things have not improved dramatically in many ways. We’re still fighting for our rights in this country. And that’s why we still have Black History Month and these publications.”

He said they were moved to write the book after the Windrush scandal, the Grenfell Tower fire and growing intolerance after the Brexit vote.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to pay for a copy of the book to be sent to every secondary school. It comes against a background of the government’s rejection of calls for black and other minorities’ history to be added to the English national curriculum.

Osborne said: “The book is for everybody, it’s about informing and educating everybody. I think it’s always been unacceptable to us to be at school or in education not having black British history included in the curriculum.

“People often aren’t having their questions answered as to why people of African and Caribbean heritage are here, no one’s giving a meaning to our presence.

“Our book is just really a jumping point. People can read about the individuals, particularly the historical figures and say: ‘There must be more, of course there’s more, I would like to learn more about those people’.”