Herbert Bankole-Bright was born in Okrika, Nigeria on August 23, 1883. Bright was the son of Jacob 'Galba' and Letitia Bright, descendants of Sierra Leone Liberated Africans. Bright's paternal grandfather, John Bright, was an ex-slave who had been liberated off a slave ship with his mother in 1823.
Bright studied medicine at Edinburgh University before setting up a practice in Freetown. At Edinburgh, Bright become 'politically awake' and became involved in a number of student activist debates and policies.
In 1918, Bright set up the Aurora newspaper, which he edited until 1925. In 1920, he was a founder member of the National Congress of British West Africa, and in 1925 he inspired Ladipo Solanke's formation of the West African Students' Union, becoming a founder member. The same year, he became one of the first three elected members of the Legislative Council of Sierra Leone. With Ernest Beoku-Betts, he campaigned for increased suffrage and against racism, without success.
In 1939, following a feud with Isaac Wallace-Johnson, Bright supported government measures to limit the activities of Johnson's Youth Leagues. This alienated many of Bright's supporters, and he temporarily stepped down from politics.
In the 1940s, Bright founded the National Council of Sierra Leone, and it became the main opposition at the Sierra Leonean general election, 1951. After spending the next six years attempting to obstruct all government activities, the National Council lost all its seats at the 1957 election.
Professor Akintola J.G. Wyse wrote a biography of H.C. Bankole-Bright which was dedicated to the author's family and his late sister, Lerina Taylor-Bright.
- Bright, Herbert Christian Bankole-, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Hakim Adi, West Africans in Britain: 1900-1960