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Making History: Christian Cole Lecture with Pamela Roberts, FRSA

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Making History: Christian Cole Lecture with Pamela Roberts

Christian Frederick Cole (1852–1885) was the first Black African to be awarded a degree by the University of Oxford and to practice law in an English court. He was made a member of University College, Oxford in 1877.

Join author Pamela Roberts for this special lecture exploring Christian Cole’s life and times. Born in Sierra Leone in the 19th century, Cole was a ground-breaking student and a remarkable man. This lecture explores how he was viewed by his Victorian contemporaries at Oxford. Come hear about Cole’s anti-colonial writings and learn about rare archival materials that shed light on his achievement. 

The lecture will be followed by a reception.

This event is free and open to the public.


Pamela Roberts FRSA is the author of Black Oxford. She is the Founder and Director of Black Oxford Untold Stories and the initiator of the Christian Cole memorial plaque at University College.

This event is part of Making History: Christian Cole, Alain Locke, and Oscar Wilde at Oxford, an exhibition running from May-October 2019 in the Library of Magdalen College, Oxford. 

Making History: Christian Cole, Alain Locke and Oscar Wilde at Oxford tells the story of Oxford University’s first Black African undergraduate (Christian Cole), first African-American Rhodes scholar and midwife to the Harlem Renaissance (Alain Locke), and greatest Irish wit and dandy (Oscar Wilde). These 3 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. The exhibition showcases rare archives to allow the public a unique glimpse at the documents and drawings that bear witness to these remarkable young men’s lives and times.

Curated by Elizabeth Adams (University College, Oxford) and Michèle Mendelssohn (Mansfield College, Oxford) in collaboration with Daryl Green (Magdalen College, Oxford). Based on Making Oscar Wilde by Michèle Mendelssohn, a semi-finalist for the PEN America Biography Prize and finalist for the Biographers’ Club Slightly Foxed First Biography Prize. 

This exhibition is made possible thanks to support from Hertford College, University College, Magdalen College, The Rhodes Trust, and the Oxford English Faculty.

June 12 2019


Date: 12 June 2019
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Categories:, ,
Website: Visit Event Website


University College

10 Merton Street Lecture Room , Oxford, OX1 4BH
Oxford,OX1 4BHGB

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