I set up Black Oxford Untold Stories after a crude insult from a member of staff at the 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.
The insult was my impetus to find out more information about the university's black scholars. What I found was the university was known for its numerous heads of states, academics, writers, scientists, politicians, philosophers. The name of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, Margaret Thatcher, Harold Wilson, and Bill Clinton are familiar to many. But what about its Black scholars?
Oxford University has seen many African, African-Caribbean, African-Americans, and Black British scholars pass through the hallow halls and colleges of the illustrious university. Christian Frederick Cole, the first Black African scholar at the university in 1873; Kofoworola Moore, the first African woman to achieve a degree from St Hugh’s College in 1935, Alain LeRoy Locke, the first Rhodes Scholar to attend the university in 1907, Grantley Adams, a student of St. Catherine’s, went onto become the first Premier of Barbados. The list is endless. Black Oxford Untold Stories was born.
BLACK OXFORD UNTOLD STORIES
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.
I facilitate this work by delivering workshops, lecture programmes, on-line lectures, producing events and creative projects and through my book, Black Oxford the Untold Stories of Oxford University's Black Scholars (Signal 2013).
Black Oxford Untold Stories achievements include
My seminal work as the initiator for formal recognition for Christian Frederick Cole, the University of Oxford's first Black student, 1873.
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.
Writing, producing, and directing the first film about Christian Cole, England's first black barrister, filmed on location at University College, University of Oxford, The Inner Temple, and honour of filming and hosting the screening at the Old Bailey.
Initiating the placing of a photograph of Kofoworola Moore, Oxford University’s first African woman scholar at St Hugh’s Colleges. I had the honour of unveiling the photograph with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford and the Principal, Dame Elish Angiolini.
I have worked with the following organisations, universities, colleges in delivering workshops, seminars, lectures, events, and creative projects.
Find out more about booking me to deliver a lecture or produce an event or creative project on my services page.
Hello and welcome. My name is Pamela Roberts. I am an award-winning creative producer, historian, Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow at the British Library, and the Founder and Director of Black Oxford: Untold Stories.