Sunday 22 April 2018

Keble Unveils Portrait of Oxford Union’s First African-Caribbean President

Keble College has unveiled a new oil portrait in its Dining Hall honouring its alumnus Sir James Cameron Tudor, who in 1942 was the first person of African-Caribbean descent to be elected President of the Oxford Union. He was also the first African-Caribbean to be President of the Junior Common Room at the College.

Sir James subsequently became one of the Caribbean’s most influential diplomats and politicians. He was a founding member the Democratic Labour Party of Barbados, which led the country to independence in 1966. He served as Deputy Prime Minister, Education Minister, High Commissioner to Britain, and Ambassador to the United Nations.

Born and educated in Barbados, Sir James came to Keble College in 1940 to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He was Treasurer of the Junior Common Room Committee in 1941 – 1942, Secretary in 1942 – 1943 and was elected, unopposed, as President for 1943 – 1944. During his tenure as President, he oversaw the JCR through a difficult time, during which the College was requisitioned for war purposes and the students were rehoused in other colleges.

Sir James Cameron Tudor was President of the Oxford Union in 1942 – 1943 where he was described as having ‘exercised in the Chamber a pleasant and astringent wit’.

Warden of Keble College, Sir Jonathan Phillips, said: “The College is very pleased that the achievements of such a distinguished individual are being recognised in this way. It signals the College’s wish to celebrate the diversity of its alumni and student body.”

The portrait, painted by artist Anthony Oakshett, was unveiled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados, Senator The Hon Maxine McClean. She said: “We are very proud of our former Deputy Prime Minister’s achievements during his time at Oxford. Sir James was a trailblazer who has left an important legacy. We are delighted that Keble College is recognising the contribution he made with this lasting memorial.”