skip to content

Cambridge University Library


Today, 1 October, marks the start of Black History Month and in celebration the University Library officially opened its latest exhibition, Black Cantabs: History Makers.

This exhibition tells the stories of black students in Cambridge, from the forgotten pioneers of centuries past to the celebrated successes of today. In it, a collection of photographic portraits will celebrate centuries of black students at Cambridge (from 1700 to the present day) and inspire future generations.

Featuring trailblazers from the first black British army officer to the first black female composer to have a composition played at the Proms, the exhibition features famous faces such as Zadie Smith, Thandie Newton and Naomie Harris alongside rare archive images. New portraits are being taken by the city of Cambridge’s chief chronicler, Sir Cam, including of classical composer Errollyn Wallen, jazz singer Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan and MP Diane Abbott. These portraits will hang on the University Library’s 'Royal Corridor'.

Black Cantabs: History Makers runs from 1 October to 22 December at the University Library, before touring the University and Colleges. It builds on the painstaking research project undertaken by the Black Cantabs Society, the members of which are students, staff and alumni of the University. See the results of the project on the Society's website:

Information about visitng the exhibition can be found on our What's On page.