Black Cantabs Timeline

  • © British Library
    Alexander Crummell (Queens 1853)

    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.

  • © Unknown
    Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford (Peterhouse 1896)

    Described by many of his peers as the “uncrowned king of West Africa”, Casely Hayford was a lawyer, educator, journalist and politician most known for his contributions to the theory of Pan-Africanism.

  • Lt. David Louis Clemetson (Trinity ’12)

    Lt. David Louis Clemetson was the first Black officer commissioned by the British Army.

  • Gloria Carpenter (Girton ’45)

    Gloria Cumper (née Carpenter) was Cambridge’s first Black female graduate and a pioneer who helped bring legal change to the Caribbean.

  • ©
    Efua Theodora Sutherland (Homerton ’50)

    Efua Theodora Sutherland (née Morgue) was a Ghanaian educationalist, playwright, director, poet, children’s author, and cultural activist.

  • © Margaret Reckord Bernal
    Barry Reckord (Emmanuel ’53)

    Born Barrington John Reckord in 1926, Kingston Jamaica, “Barry” was a Jamaican playwright who is recognised as one of the earliest Caribbean writers to contribute to British theatre.

  • Musa Haji Deria Mohamed (Johns ’61)

    A prominent Judge, Musa Haji Deria Mohamed served as Attorney-General of the Somali Republic from 1970 to 1976, working to fuse the traditional Somali law system with elements of western legal systems.

  • © Unknown
    Thomas Risley Odhiambo (Queens ’65)

    Thomas Risley Odhiambo was a Kenyan entomologist and environmental activist who dedicated his life to scientific development in the African continent.

  • © Margaret Green
    Archibald Boyce Monwabisi Mafeje (Kings ’68)

    Archibald Boyce Monwabisi Mafeje, also known as Archie Mafeje, was a South African social scientist and Pan-African activist.

  • © Patricia Cumper
    Patricia Cumper MBE (Girton ’73)

    Patricia Cumper, MBE, FRSA, is an award-winning playwright, director, theatre producer, radio drama writer, arts administrator, and an advocate for the arts.

  • © Unknown
    Kwame Akroma-Ampim Kusi Anthony Appiah (Clare ’75)

    Kwame Akroma-Ampim Kusi Anthony Appiah FRSL is an ethicist, novelist, and scholar of global philosophy. 

  • Diane Abbott (Newnham ’76)

    Diane Julie Abbott is both the first black woman ever elected to the UK Parliament and the longest-serving black MP in the House of Commons.

  • Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Clare ’79)

    Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, professor, historian, filmmaker who has made waves in the field of academia.

  • © Unknown
    Alinah Kelo Segobye (Selwyn ’88)

    Alinah Kelo Segobye is an archaeologist, social development activist, and African futures thinker and practitioner.

  • Ato Quayson (Pembroke ’91)

    Professor Ato Quayson was the first African director of the Centre for African Studies in Cambridge and the first Black scholar to have gained full tenure at the University.