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Discover those who have been uncovered… - 1799


Edinburgh-trained doctors on Caribbean plantations - 1800

William Wright’s memoir reproduced with permission of Royal College of Physicians by Daisy Chamberlain During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many medical graduates from the University of Edinburgh …

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1809 – William Fergusson, the first known black student of the University of Edinburgh, matriculates - 1809

Born in Jamaica, he qualified in medicine in 1813 before becoming the only ever black governor of Sierra Leone in the mid-1840s. Fergusson became a model example for future West …

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Primary source material – ‘Extraordinary History of Mr Thomas Jenkins’ - 1834

Primary source material reproduced from ‘Extraordinary History of Mr Thomas Jenkins’, Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal, 15/12/1832 Mr Thomas Jenkins was the son of an African king, and bore externally all the usual …

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Wong Fun - 1855

Illustration by Yaz Serrano By Dingjian Xie In the 1850s, the University of Edinburgh became one of the first destinations for early Chinese students who wanted to study overseas. Dr …

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James Africanus Beale Horton

James Africanus Beale Horton - 1859

Image Credit: Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh By Tom Cunningham James “Africanus” Beale Horton was born in Gloucester (Sierra Leone) in 1835. Graduating (M.D.) from Edinburgh University in 1859, …

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Jesse Ewing Glasgow Jr. - 1860

Illustration by Yaz Serrano By Hannah McGurk Jesse Ewing Glasgow Jr. was an exceptional African American intellectual who attended the University of Edinburgh 1858-60. After attending elite institutions for African …

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Aghorenath Chattopadhyay - 1875

By Uttara Rangarajan Aghorenath Chattopadhyay was born in the village of Brahmanagar in East Bengal in 1855. An exceptional student, he was awarded the Gilchrist scholarship in 1875 to pursue …

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1883 – Formation of the Edinburgh Indian Association by “half-a-dozen” students. - 1883

It is one of the first Indian Associations in Britain. [‘Edinburgh Indian Association’, The Student, 11/05/1961]

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Kadambini Ganguly - 1890

Illustration by Yaz Serrano By Vidhipssa Mohan Kadambini Ganguly (1862-1923) is one of the earliest women physicians from South Asia. Ganguly was born in Bihar on 18 July 1862 when India …

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Lim Boon Keng

Lim Boon Keng - 1892

Image reproduced courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore By Dingjian Xie During his life, Lim Boon Keng (Lin Wenqin, 林文庆), a Chinese Singaporean, was celebrated as one of the most …

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1900 – Richard Akiwande Savage, Nigerian assistant editor of The Student newspaper, John Alcindor and William Meyer attend the first Pan-African Congress in London as delegates of the Edinburgh Afro-West Indian Association. - 1900


Meher Ardeshir Dadabhai Naoroji - 1901

Image reproduced courtesy of the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh By Devika Meher A.D. Naoroji came to the University in 1901 and was the first Indian woman to …

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Primary source material – TES Scholes - 1905

Primary source material reproduced from TES Scholes, Glimpses of the Ages, or the ‘Superior’ and ‘Inferior’ Races, So-Called, Discussed in the Light of Science and History, Vol.1 (London, 1905) pp.xiv-xv, …

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Primary source material – ‘Asia Awake!’ - 1906

Primary source material reproduced from The Student 01/03/1906. Alongside debates, the Edinburgh Indian Association hosted recitals of poetry. ‘To Asia’ (possibly by BK Das, who addressed the association two weeks …

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Bandele Omoniyi - 1906

Image – reproduced courtesy of Hakim Adi & the British Library By Henry Dee In 1908, a footnote in a book about a missionary skeptically quipped: “His Highness Prince Bandele …

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c. 1906 – formation of the Edinburgh Chinese Students Society - 1906


Herbert Christian Bankole-Bright - 1910

Illustration by Yaz Serrano By Tom Cunningham H.C. Bankole-Bright enrolled at the Edinburgh Royal College of Surgeons in 1905 and qualified as physician in 1910. He ran a medical practice in …

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1910s – Scotland Yard monitor the Edinburgh Indian Association fearing revolutionary discussions. - 1910


Finandra Nath Bose - 1911

Image reproduced courtesy of the University of Glasgow Archives & Special Collections, University collection, GB248 UP5/4/7. By Natasha Ruwona Finandra/Fanandra Nath Bose (1888/9-1926) was born in Calcutta, India.  Beginning his studies …

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Clara Marguerite Christian

Clara Marguerite Christian - 1915

Image Credit: Estelle Appiah & Margaret Rousse-Jones, Returned Exile:A Biography of George James Christian of Dominica and the Gold Coast, 1869-1940 By Esme Allman Clara Marguerite Gordon (née Christian) was a Dominican-born …

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Jung Bahadur Singh - 1919

Illustration by Yaz Serrano   By Lea Ventre Jung Bahadur Singh was first named ‘Deenanath’ at birth, meaning ‘protector of the poor’. His father preferred the name Jung Bahadur, after a …

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Primary source material – ‘An Imperial University drawing its students from all parts of the British Empire’ - 1920

Primary source material reproduced from ‘Lectures for Indian Students’, The Leader, 04/11/1920 The YMCA have also opened a hostel for Indian students at No 5 Grosvenor Crescent […] The new …

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Primary source material – ‘Edinburgh University Indian Ambulance Corps’ - 1920

Primary source material reproduced from Ikbal Ali Shah, ‘Edinburgh University Indian Ambulance Corps’, The Student (special war memorial edition, May 1920). The Edinburgh University Indian Ambulance Corps played an important …

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“A permanent record of our collective activities”: The Chinese Student and the Edinburgh Chinese Students’ Union - 1920

Image from The Chinese Student – reproduced with permission of the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh by Dingjian Xie In June 1921, a group of Chinese students at Edinburgh, members …

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Yuan Changying original

Yuan Changying - 1921

Image Credit: Cultural Relics By Dingjian Xie Yuan Changying (袁昌英, 11 October 1894–28 April 1973), a playwright, novelist, scholar of literature and feminist in China, was the first Chinese female graduate …

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Primary source material – ‘We have keenly felt the humiliation and the spirit of racial hatred’: The Colour Bar in Edinburgh, 1927 - 1927

Primary source material reproduced from: ‘Colour Bar in Edinburgh’, The Scotsman, 21/05/1927; ‘Colour Bar in Edinburgh’, The Scotsman, 24/05/1927; ‘Colour Bar: Edinburgh Case: Ventilated in Commons’, The Scotsman, 01/06/1927; ‘Fatuous …

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Yun Posun - 1927

Illustration by Yaz Serrano By Ara Kim Born on 26 August 1897 in South Korea, Yun Posun came from a family of Korean independence activists. Inspired by the 1911 Chinese …

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Agnes Yewande Savage – 1929 - 1929

Image – reproduced courtesy of Mike Savage By Henry Dee Dr Agnes Yewande Savage was probably first West African woman to qualify in medicine. An outstanding student at Edinburgh, Agnes …

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Ken “Snakehips” Johnson

Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson - 1930

Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson, from Bourne, Mother Country. Image reproduced courtesy of Stephen Bourne By Lea Ventre Kenrick Reginald Hijmans Johnson never finished his studies at the University of Edinburgh. Alas, his …

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Kesaveloo Goonam - 1936

Image – reproduced courtesy of the Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre By Henry Dee A cigarette-smoking single mother of three, who graduated from Edinburgh in 1936, ran numerous successful medical practices and …

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David Pitt - 1938

Image reproduced courtesy of the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh By Lea Ventre Lord David Thomas Pitt, Baron Pitt of Hampstead studied medicine at University of Edinburgh between 1932 …

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Oku Ampofo - 1940

Illustration by Yaz Serrano By Natasha Ruwona Dr. Oku Ampofo (1908-1998) of Mampong, Ghana, lived in Edinburgh from 1932 to 1940, and became the first Ghanaian to receive a government scholarship …

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Hastings Banda - 1941

Image is a reproduction courtesy of the The National Archives, reference CO1069/165/5 By Henry Dee The University of Edinburgh renamed the Hastings ‘Kamuzu’ Banda building on Hill Place in the 1990s. …

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Ansuyah Singh - 1944

Image – reproduced courtesy of Sangamithra Choudree By Laurence Jarlett Dr Ansuyah Singh studied medicine in Edinburgh during World War 2, arriving in 1936 and completing her studies in 1944. Born …

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Julius Nyerere

Julius Nyerere - 1949

Image credit: University of Edinburgh By Tom Cunningham At Edinburgh 1949-1952 Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922-1999) is perhaps the best known of Edinburgh’s African alumni. As President of Tanganyika African National …

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Matilda J. Clerk - 1949

Image reproduced courtesy of the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh By Fatima Seck Born in March 1916 in Larteh, Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) to a historical family that …

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‘The Negroes in Britain Industry’: Race-Relations Studies at Edinburgh University in the 1950s - 1950

By Fatima Seck In the 1940s, Britain was confronted with race in a way it had never been before: World War Two, fuelled by racial ideologies, started and came to …

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Asrat Woldeyes - 1956

Image – reproduced courtesy of Assefa Negash By Tom Cunningham On the 30th April 1998 Amnesty International issued an appeal “expressing serious concern” about the health and medical treatment of …

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Florence Nwapa - 1958

Image – reproduced courtesy of Eljine Olga Nzeribe By Fatima Seck Florence Nwanzuruahu Nkiru Nwapa — more commonly known as Flora Nwapa — is a woman whose accomplishments are impressive in …

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Donald Locke - 1959

Image – reproduced courtesy of Brenda Locke and Tiffany Boyle By Natasha Ruwona Donald Locke (1930-2010) was born in Guyana and travelled to the UK to study art. In 1954 …

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Caribbean students in 1960s Edinburgh - 1960

Photo of Jean Besson reproduced with permission of Jean Besson By Hannah McGurk Many students recall several positive experiences of Edinburgh and Scotland at large, from the stereotypically friendly Scottish …

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Semei Nyanzi

Semei Nyanzi - 1960

Image – reproduced courtesy of the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh University Students Association By Laurence Jarlett As a pre-eminent economist and prominent government participant, Semei Nyanzi …

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Kenneth Ramchand

Kenneth Ramchand - 1963

Illustration by Yaz Serrano By Hannah McGurk Kenneth Ramchand wrote his PhD on Caribbean literature between 1959 and 1963. He was a scholarship student from Trindad (Kayalis & Natsina, 2011). …

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Geoff Palmer - 1965

Image courtesy of Professor Geoff Palmer By Natasha Ruwona Godfrey Henry Oliver Palmer, referred to now as Sir Geoff Palmer, was born in 1940 in Jamaica. Palmer joined his mother who was …

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Kole Omotoso - 1972

Illustration by Yaz Serrano By Fatima Seck Bankole Ajibabi Omotoso, more commonly known as Kole Omotoso, was born in Nigeria in 1943 to a traditional elite Yoruba family (Stellenbosch Writers, n.d). …

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Primary source material – ‘A lot of young men, most of them in dressing gowns to keep warm’ - 1989

Primary source material reproduced from William Besson, Caribbean Reflections: The Life and Times of a Trinidad Scholar, 1901-1986 (London, 1989) On arrival, my friend [George Busby] took me to the …

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Uncover_ED Twitter - 2018