Black History Month 2023 at Oxford

October marks the start of an annual tradition to honour the contributions of Black people to society throughout history, and here at the University of Oxford.  

This year’s Black History Month’s theme is Saluting our Sisters. Over the course of October, events will take place across the University to celebrate and commemorate Black histories, and to help build brighter Black futures.


Events and activities

University of Oxford, Annual Black History Month Lecture: Ann Pratt, Mary Seacole, and Questioning British History 

31 October, 17.00 - 18.30 followed by a reception 

Mathematical Institute, Andrew Wiles Building, Woodstock Rd, Oxford OX2 6GG 

2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in the UK. A significant moment in Bristish History. The passengers, most from the Caribbean, have become a symbol of the generation of Commonwealth citizens who helped rebuild the nation following the Second World War. They and their descendants continue to contribute to all aspects of British life. 

In this year’s Black History Month lecture, writer and independent historian of Britain and the Caribbean Dr Christienna Fryar explores the fraught relationship between British history and Black British history.  Join us to hear the story of two mixed-race Jamaican women, one of whom is widely considered an important figure within Black British history while the other is barely known.    

This lecture has been jointly organised by the BME Staff Network and the Equality and Diversity Unit and is sponsored in collaboration with the Mathematical Institute. 

Poster showing the details of the Black history month lecture available in the following text, with a photograph of Dr Christienna Fryar

About our speaker 

Formerly an academic, Dr Christienna Fryar was the founding convenor of the MA Black British History at Goldsmiths, University of London, the first taught masters' programme of its kind in the UK.  Before this, she taught Caribbean history, comparative slavery and emancipation, and disaster studies at the University of Liverpool, where she was the director of the MA International Slavery. She has also worked at universities in North Carolina and Western New York. In addition to freelance radio broadcasting, she is currently writing Entangled Lands: A Caribbean History of Britain, which will be published with Penguin/Allen Lane.  









Kellogg College - Black History Month Annual Lecture: When Will We Be Free? Scenes from a Historical Memoir on Colonialism and Freedom 

10 October, 17:30 – 18.45 

The Hub, Kellogg College, 60-62 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PN

Simukai Chigudu talks from the book he is currently writing, When Will We Be Free? Living in the Shadow of Empire and the Struggle for Decolonisation. The book is a work of literary nonfiction that combines memoir, political history and cultural criticism. Simukai, Associate professor of African politics at the University of Oxford, deftly, intertwines personal and family stories with the history of Africa’s anti-colonial struggles from the 1950s to the present. 


Kellogg College - Black History Month Exhibition  

Open throughout October, 17.30 - 18.30 

The Hub, Kellogg College, 60-62 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PN 

Part of Black History Month, Kellogg alumna Urvi Khaitan’s annual Black History Month Exhibition presents a glimpse into untold histories of Black women at Oxford.   

The exhibition launch will be introduced by Kellogg Racial Equality and Justice Fellow, Dr Shreya Atrey.  


Supporting the Black Community to Thrive  

12 October, 17:00 – 19:00 

Green Templeton College, 43 Woodstock Rd, Oxford, OX2 6HG 

Talks from three distinguished speakers to celebrate Black History Month and launch the Green Templeton Black Students’ Society online journal. Speakers include Prof Shirley J. Thompson, a visionary British composer, conductor, and cultural activist who is celebrated globally for her captivating music. Isatou M. Bokum, President of the Oxford Africa Society, founder of the Girls Talk Organisation, advocating for girls' rights and currently pursuing a Women’s Gender and Sexuality master’s at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Prof Caesar Atuire, a Ghanaian philosopher and health ethicist leading the MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine ethics programme at the University of Oxford. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Ghana and an affiliate at the University of Washington.


Paterson Joseph in Conversation with Dr Mai Musié  

17 October 17.00 

MBI Al Jaber Auditorium - Corpus Christi College, Merton Street, Oxford, OX1 4JF 

Award-winning author and actor, Paterson Joseph in conversation with Dr Mai Musié (Ancient Historian/Public Engagement Professional); discussing Joseph's debut novel, The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho - winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize 2023.  

There will be Q&A and book-signing.


We Rise (Together): Taking and Making Space for BIPOC Book Arts Creatives, Cultures, and Histories A gold horizontal flourish 

24 October, 13.00 – 14.00 

Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG 

Tia Blassingame is Printer in Residence at the Bibliographical Press, Bodleian Libraries, during October 2023. Tia will introduce her work leading the Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective (aka Book/Print Collective) and will share methods for supporting and empowering BIPOC book and print artists so they can thrive in the book arts field and beyond. 

Free event but booking required.


We Need to Talk About Misogynoir: Detecting and Preventing Online Abuse Against Black Women 

25 October, 13:00 – 14:00 

Oxford Internet Institute, Seminar Room, 1 St Giles’, Oxford, OX1 3JS

This talk with Dr Julia Slupska, Head of Policy, Research and Campaigns at Glitch, will discuss the “Digital Misogynoir Report: ending the dehumanising of Black women online”, which presents a large scale data study of almost 1 million posts across 5 major social media platforms. Glitch is an award-winning charity working to end online abuse and make the internet a safer place for everyone, particularly Black women. We also identify calls to action for tech companies, governments, researchers, and digital citizens to dismantle digital misogynoir. 


St John's Black History Month Lecture 2023:  'Defending the History of African and Caribbean People in Britain' 

Thursday 26 October 17:00-18:30

St John's College, St Giles', Oxford OX1 3JP 

In this lecture for Black History Month, Professor Hakim Adi will explore themes raised in his African and Caribbean People in Britain: A History (Allen Lane, 2022), recently shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2023. Looking at the evidence for the actions of African and Caribbean people in the history of Britain, Professor Adi will show how much the country’s collective achievements – universal suffrage, the fight against fascism, the forging of the NHS – owe to these men and women, and how, in understanding our history in these terms, we are more able to fully understand our present moment. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in the Garden Quad Reception Room. The event is free and all are welcome. 


Black History Month - St Cross College Ska and Reggae Concert 

27 October, 19.30 

Pusey House Chapel, Pusey Lane, Oxford OX1 2LF

Renowned musicians The Rocksteady Royals will perform a one-hour concert with a programme that celebrates the history of ska and reggae music. The programme will span songs from the origins of ska through to well-known classics in reggae that came out of Jamaica in the 1960s-1970s.

Black History Month Panel Discussion 

30 October, 14.00  

Lecture Theatre - Department of Politics and International Relations, Manor Road, Oxford, OX1 3UJ 

This student organised panel discussion aims to commemorate and celebrate the rich history, contributions, and achievements of the Black community in the fields of Politics and International Relations. The event will feature a panel discussion that delves into the historical significance and contemporary relevance of Black perspectives in global politics. Panellists to be announced. 




The BIPOC STEM Network, set up in the summer of 2020, is the first STEM network within the University of Oxford for postgraduates, research staff, academic staff and administrative/support staff that identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) or BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) as well as allies.


An open educational resource hub for Black and Asian British writing today.


The Race and Resistance programme brings together researchers, students, and activists in the history, literature, and culture of anti-racist movements across the modern world.


Anti-racist educational resources. (Please note, some ebooks listed will only be available to read to those with a single sign on).  


Read a series of blogs from archival studies of the Anti-Slavery Society, part of the We are History project at the Bodleian.


About the University's Equality Policy 

The University's Equality Policy provides for an inclusive environment which 'promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected to assist them in reaching their full potential'. It also outlines that no student or member of staff will be treated less favorably on grounds which include race, religion or belief. You can find further information about the University’s work in the areas of race equality here.