Carol Leeming FRSA, during Black History Month 2018 , was appointed by Black Oxford Untold Stories led by Pamela Roberts FRSA, to be the Chair for a fascinating Symposium at Bodleian Library on the Fredrick Cole of Sierra Leone , the first ever Black Oxford Scholar in the 1900’s.
Pamela Roberts of Black Oxford Untold Stories, firstly, outlined the paucity and inappropriateness of images available,eg caricature of Fredrick Cole, ie. of such an important and significant Scholar, to have graduated at Oxford University. A plaque of Fredrick Cole was unveiled in the previous year, opposite the Law Faculty at Oxford University, attend by Pamela Roberts and Oxford University dignitaries. The Symposium panel consisted various academics, creative practitioners, who referred to the negative images of Africa past and present, eg. racist caricature of Cole, Oxford University archive of publications of caricatures of the period, Fredrick Cole’s life at Oxford, Portraiture of Black Success, and making and erecting Statues. The event included a brief dramatic performance by two actors, who brought Fredrick Cole and a University rival to life, in a recorded argument they both had. There was also a lively discussion with attendees and many useful suggestions offered from the audience, as to the ways of moving forward, to best honor the legacy of Fredrick Cole in Oxford and beyond.