The First Documented Black Student at Cambridge University

It is generally believed that Black students first studied at Cambridge University in England in the early 1700s. But the first documented record of a Black student is from 1848. That year, Alexander Crummell enrolled at Cambridge to study moral philosophy.

Crummell’s father was a slave in the United States but Alexander Crummell was born free and attended an abolitionist school in New York City. Later, he was ordained as an Episcopal minister and went to Britain to raise money for his church and to seek support for the abolitionist movement in the United States. When supporters secured him a place at Cambridge and offered to pay his tuition, Crummell decided to stay in Britain to pursue higher education.


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