Black Oxford Untold Stories was set up after a crude insult from a member of staff at Oxford City Tourist Information Centre. They blatantly refused to acknowledge that Black people studied at the University. Instead, stating the only contribution Black people had made to the University city was to the transportation system in driving the buses and working in the car factory. Black Oxford Untold Stories was born.
Black Oxford Untold Stories celebrates the contributions and legacies of Oxford University's Black scholars from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. Over the years, Black Oxford Untold Stories has contributed significantly to disrupting the traditional narrative and visual imagery of Oxford University by challenging the attitudes and perception of the University's staff, students, faculties and broader communities that historically Black students did not study at the University.
Black Oxford Untold Stories facilitate this work by delivering workshops, lecture programmes, walking tours, the book, Black Oxford the Untold Stories of Oxford University's Black Scholars (Signal 2013), and developing and delivering projects about specific Black scholars.
Notably, its seminal work as the initiator for formal recognition for Christian Frederick Cole, the University of Oxford's first Black student, 1873. This work resulted in the acquisition of the first Black Oxford memorial plaque at University College. The plaque was unveiled in 2017 by Sir Ivor Crewe, Master, University College, to commemorate Cole's significant achievements. An overview of Cole and the location of the plaque has been incorporated as one of the features of the University’s ‘Know your Oxford’ audio tour for prospective students and undergraduates.