This paper illuminates some of the factors that shape the educational goals and outcomes of African women who pursued graduate studies in scientific disciplines at western universities between the 1960s and 1990s. Based on a qualitative study of 15 African women scientists, almost all of whom are employed in academic institutions in their respective countries, I examine how racism, Third World location, and gender bias affected their graduate education experiences in scientific disciplines. The study also addresses the extent to which the women were aware of how these factors affected how they were perceived and mentored by professors, interacted with peer groups, as well as managed the demands of graduate school along with marriage and family relations. The study demonstrates why issues of diversity are salient to the discourse on ways to address the recruitment and retention of women in science.