Children, Education and Empire in Early Sierra Leone: Left in Our Hands, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Children, Education and Empire in Early Sierra Leone

Left in Our Hands, 1st Edition

By Katrina Keefer


250 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780815353966
pub: 2018-07-09
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Nineteenth-century Sierra Leone presented a unique situation historically as the focal point of early abolitionist efforts, settlement within West Africa by westernized Africans, and a rapid demographic increase through the judicial emancipation of Liberated Africans. Within this complex and often volatile environment, the voices and experiences of children have been difficult to trace and to follow. Enslaved children historically are a challenging narrative to highlight due to their comparative vulnerability. This book offers newly transcribed data and fills in a lacuna in the scholarship of early Sierra Leone and the Atlantic world. It presents a narrative of children as they experienced a set of circumstances which were unique and important to abolitionist historiography, and demonstrates how each element of that situation arose by analyzing the rich documentary evidence. By presenting the data as well as the individuals whose lives were affected by the mission schools (both as teacher or pupil) this study has sought to be as complete as possible. Underlying the more academic tone is a recognition of the individual humanity of both teachers and students whose lives together shaped this early phase in the history of Sierra Leone. The missionaries who created the documents from which this study arises all died in Sierra Leone after having profound impacts on the lives of many hundreds of pupils. Their students went on to become important historical figures both locally and throughout West Africa. Not all rose to prominence, and the book reconstructs the lives of pupils who became local tradespeople in addition to those who had a greater social stature. This book attempts to offer analysis without forgetting the fundamental human trajectories which this material encompasses.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables



1. The Founding of the Sierra Leone Colony, 1787–1808

2. A New Kind of Protestantism in Sierra Leone

3. The CMS and its Missionaries

4. Initiation Camps, Karanthes and Mission Schools

5. The CMS School Communities 18061819

6. The Pupils at the Mission Schools

7. The Children of the CMS

Conclusion: Mission Education and Leadership in Transforming Sierra Leone



Appendix A 1809–1816 Compiled Bashia Pupil List

Appendix B 1811–1816 Compiled Canoffee Pupil List

Appendix C 1814–1816 Compiled Yongroo Pomoh Pupil List

Appendix D 1815 Îsles de Los Pupil List

Appendix E 1817–1819 Compiled Leicester Pupil List

Appendix F 1819 Gloucester Town Pupil List

Appendix G 1816 Goree Pupil List

About the Author

Katrina Keefer is Adjunct Professor of History at Trent University, Canada.

About the Series

Global Africa

This series will produce new scholarship on African experiences within the field of global history, globalization, African Diaspora, Atlantic History, etc. It is our goal to publish works that view African ideas from a global perspective and vice versa, thus placing Africa squarely within the framework of globalization, and change the perception of African people vis-a-vis the world, creating an innovative source of new works about Africa and the world.

This new series will serve several important functions. First and foremost, it will create a space for scholars and educators to find resources that aid in the understanding of Africa’s place in the world’s global and regional economic political and intellectual spheres throughout history. Second, our monographs will incorporate African experiences into broader historical theories that have hitherto marginalized Africans within the realm of global history. We aim to provide competing views of Africa’s place in various global systems can be studied in a systemic fashion without resorting to pseudo-historical themes that ultimately harm our understanding of the African past.

Most importantly, we will take up the mantle of African production of knowledge on a global scale, and emphasize how Africans, who have long been marginalized in global intellectual traditions, have shaped the very civilizations that shunned the former’s contributions. The resulting marginalization has resulted in many of the ills that African peoples face today. By redeeming the African place in the global intellectual tradition, we will also help emphasize the African political and economic past in ways that place the continent front and center in the creation of the world we all inhabit. As a result, it will form an innovative platform where scholars put forward new ideas regarding Africa’s role in world affairs that have long been overlooked and underemphasized.

For submissions and enquiries, please contact:

Toyin Falola:

Roy Doron:

Leanne Hinves:

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Africa / General
HISTORY / Africa / West