The Black Cantabs Research Society is a counter-history project, designed to uncover and preserve the legacies of Black alumni of the University of Cambridge.
Our mission is to critically intervene in the constructed narrative of Cambridge, and to place Black students in the institution’s past, present, and future.
Founded in 2015, we have compiled an archive of over 50 prominent Black alumni, to ensure their stories are known and celebrated.
Watch co-founder Njoki Wamai and Surer Mohamed discuss the work of the Black Cantabs Research Society, the incredible contributions of Black alumni and the personal significance of uncovering their histories.
Find out about the groundbreaking “History Makers” Exhibition which told the stories of 15 prominent alumni across the 260 years of Black students and graduates at the University of Cambridge.
Black Cantabs Timeline
Learn about the history of Black Cantabs, from the first students to graduate from the University of Cambridge, to the present day.
Alexander Crummell was an African-American Episcopalian minister, scholar, and educator, and was the first known Black person to get a degree from Cambridge University. Crummell was a key figure in the struggle for Black people’s rights in the United States,…Read more
Alinah Kelo Segobye is an archaeologist, social development activist, and African futures thinker and practitioner. Segobye’s research interests include southern African archaeology, indigenous knowledge systems, heritage studies, and HIV/AIDS. “A deep rooted passion for the [African] continent’s development agenda both…Read more
Archibald Boyce Monwabisi Mafeje (March 30, 1936 – March 28, 2007), also known as Archie Mafeje, was a South African social scientist and Pan-African activist. An anthropologist by training, Mafeje became a prominent scholar internationally. Throughout his career, he contested…Read more
Efua Theodora Sutherland (née Morgue) was a Ghanaian educationalist, playwright, director, poet, children’s author, and cultural activist. Born 27 June 1924 on the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana), Sutherland grew up in a Ghanian royal family. Her mother, Harriet Efua Maria…Read more
Kwame Akroma-Ampim Kusi Anthony Appiah FRSL is an ethicist, novelist, and scholar of global philosophy. Appiah was born in London on May 8, 1954, and moved to the city of Kumasi, Ghana, shortly after. As a child, Appiah was exposed…Read more
Thomas Risley Odhiambo was a Kenyan entomologist and environmental activist who dedicated his life to scientific development in the African continent. Born in Mombasa, Kenya, on February 4, 1931, Odhiambo came from a humble background, where he was the first…Read more
Patricia Cumper, MBE, FRSA, is an award-winning playwright, director, theatre producer, radio drama writer, arts administrator, and an advocate for the arts. Cumper was born in Jamaica to English and Jamaican parents. Before beginning her writing pursuits, Cumper was a…Read more
Our inaugural year saw the society unearth the records of over 40 eminent black alumni, whom went on to play prominent roles all over the world.
Our objective is for current and former students of the University of Cambridge to write the black students of this institution back into its history, and to publish these findings to an online archive. This serves two purposes; celebrating and normalising diversity; and a means for current, prospective, and past members of University, the contemporary Black Cantabs, to form a strong and connected community – ‘a global Black Cantab network’ of alumni, stretching from one of the recorded first, Alexander Crummell, to the present.