Black History Month at Oxford | University of Oxford

Black History Month at Oxford

For the public:

Making History: Christian Cole, Alain Locke and Oscar Wilde at Oxford

Where: Longwall Library at Magdalen College, Oxford
When: from now until October 21 2019 

Making History posterMaking History poster
The exhibition and events series celebrates Oxford University’s first Black African undergraduate, Christian Cole; the first African-American Rhodes scholar, and midwife to the Harlem Renaissance, Alain Locke; and the great Irish wit and dandy, Oscar Wilde. These three were undergraduates at University, Hertford and Magdalen College, respectively. By drawing these exceptional men together, the exhibition highlights the surprising shared histories of Oxford’s Queer, Black and First-Generation undergraduates. By showcasing rare archives, Making History allows the public a unique glimpse of the documents and drawings that bear witness to these remarkable young men’s lives and times. The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Adams (University College, Oxford) and Michèle Mendelssohn (Mansfield College, Oxford) in collaboration with Daryl Green (Magdalen College, Oxford), and draws upon Michèle’s acclaimed new biography, Making Oscar Wilde.

Further information:

Early Black Lives Special Seminar

Where: Joan Thirsk Common Room, Faculty of History, George Street OX1 2RL
When: Wednesday 16 October, 13.30 - 16.00

To mark Black History Month and Oxford Dictionary of National Biography's Early Black Lives release, a special seminar will take place 13.30-16.00pm on 16 October in the Common Room, Faculty of History.

The seminar will feature presentations by some of the authors of the new ODNB entries, followed by a Q&A. Speakers include Dr Miranda Kaufmann, historian, journalist and author of Black Tudors: The Untold Story (2017); Dr Onyeka Nubia, novelist, historian and author of Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England, Their Presence, Status and Origins (2013); Dr Katherine Paugh, Associate Professor of North American Women's History at Oxford and author of The Politics of Reproduction: Race, Medicine and Fertility in the Age of Abolition (2017); and Dr Anders Ingram (History Faculty and ODNB), who will speak about the Early Black Lives initiative and its intentions more broadly.

Chair: Dr Faridah Zaman.

1.30 - 1.50 Anders Ingram: 'Black British History in the ODNB'
2.00 - 2.20 Katherine Paugh: ‘The Life of Mary Hylas: The Age of Abolition from an Afro-Caribbean Woman’s Perspective’.
2.30 - 2.50 Onyeka Nubia: 'Under the hegemony of post-colonialism creating a precolonial lexicography'
3.00 - 3.20 Miranda Kaufmann:  'Diego the Black Tudor circumnavigator and putting Black British Lives centre stage'

Tea/coffee will be provided.
This event is co-hosted by the Race Equality Working Group and OUP. For enquires, please contact

‘Towards a Wider Life’: Norman Manley in Britain and Jamaica

Where: Jesus College, Turl Street, Oxford, OX1 3DW
When: 19 October 3:00pm

Jesus College, the History Faculty & the School of Geography and the Environment cordially invite you to an event celebrating the presence of Norman Manley at Jesus College. Enjoy an afternoon of talks plus a theatrical performance by Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective.


Further information:

BME Staff Network 2019 Black History Month Lecture: 
Professor Paul Gilroy ‘How should we write the history of antiracism in Britain?’

When: Friday 25 October at 5.30pm
Where: Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College

Lecture and discussion 5.30 - 7pm, followed by reception

Professor Paul GilroyProfessor Paul Gilroy
The BME Staff Network and Equality and Diversity Unit of the University of Oxford are delighted to host the Black History Month Lecture with this year's speaker, Professor Paul Gilroy, founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Race and Racism at University College London. Professor Gilroy was recognised this year with the Holberg Prize for "his outstanding contributions to a number of academic fields, including cultural studies, critical race studies, sociology, history, anthropology and African-American studies."


Chineke! Championing Change and Celebrating Diversity in Classical Music

When: Wednesday 30 October 2019, 6pm (conversation and Q&A) and 7pm (concert)
Where: New College Antechapel

TORCH is delighted to host the first visit to Oxford by Chineke!

Founded in 2015 by the double bass player, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, Chineke! provides career opportunities for black and minority ethnic (BME) musicians. Chineke!'s mission is ‘championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’ and it has achieved this through performances by the professional Chineke! Orchestra which comprises a majority of BME musicians, and the Chineke! Junior Orchestra for aspiring young BME players aged 11 to 22.

The musicians in the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble are all principal players of the Chineke! Orchestra and they bring a varied programme to the Oxford which, as in all their concerts, features works by BME composers alongside more familiar repertoire. The concert will be preceded by a talk and Q&A session with Chineke!'s founder and Artistic Director, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, in conversation with Dr Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey.

Tickets: Entry to both the Q&A and the concert is free, and booking in advance is highly recommended. Please book via Eventbrite or email the TORCH team at

Further information:


Credit: Eric Richmond and Joe Swift

For students:

Celebrating Black History Month

‘Carte blanche à/to Olivette Otele’

Professor Olivette OteleProfessor Olivette Otele
Celebrate Black History Month with a great panel of speakers including Professor Olivette Otele (Bath Spa University, and Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society), Dr Diana Berruezo-Sánchez (Balliol College) and French author David Diop (Prix Goncourt des Lycéens 2018).
This event is convened by Professor Catriona Seth (All Souls).

Further information

Black History Month speaker event

The education and migration activist Dami Makinde of We Belong: (

Where: Trinity College, Oxford
When: Friday 25 October at 5pm

Further information:

Liberation Library @ Wadham College

Where: Wadham College
When: Dates tbc

Students and Library staff at Wadham College have organised the purchase and display of ‘Liberation Books’ for the library. Literature ranging from ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’, to more recent work from Akala: Natives: Race and class in the ruins of empire’, will be on display in the college library.

Further information:

BAME panel discussion

Hosted by Professor Patricia Kingori, Associate Professor in Global Health Ethics at the Nuffield Department of Population Health

Where: Somerville
When: November (exact dates tbc)

Further information will be available from:

Further details of Black History Month SU-led events and content are available here:

Oxford SU Black History Month Blog:

Useful resources:

Oxford and colonialism then and now

Why teaching migration, belonging and Empire should be supported and fully funded in secondary schools

Co-authored by Jason Todd, PGCE History Tutor in the Department of Education, Oxford, the report calls on the government to support and fully fund the teaching of migration, including Empire, in secondary schools though.

Oxford and colonialism: then and now

Working Group on Oxford University and Colonialism led by Laura Van Broekhoven and Kalypso Nicolaidis.

The Working Group is currently overseeing a project, funded by the University’s Diversity Fund, which aims to bring together – specifically through a website - activities taking place at Oxford with regards to addressing the relationship between our University and colonialism and how this has affected (and continues to affect) the collegiate University’s architecture, admission and recruitment processes and curriculum throughout. In doing so, its ambition is to encourage debates around issues of colonialism in the University, and explore the boundary between past and present-day colonialism and coloniality.

Student-led initiatives:

Common Ground. For event details follow: @CommonGroundOx on twitter

Events have included a week long symposium with a discussion in the Pitt Rivers Museum on “How Oxford Benefitted from Exploitation”.

The Uncomfortable Oxford project

Run by doctoral students offering walking tours in the city. The tours cover topics of imperialism, inequality, slavery, gender history, religious diversity, violence and memorialisation.

Tour details are available here: