John Mensah Sarbah
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John Mensah Sarbah was born on Friday, 3 June 1864, in the Fante Confederacy in the Gold Coast. He was the eldest son of John Sarbah (1834-1892), a merchant of Anomabu and Cape Coast and a member of the Legislative Council of the Gold Coast, and his wife Sarah. Mensah Sarbah was educated at the Cape Coast Wesleyan School (later renamed – by Mensah Sarbah himself – as Mfantsipim School) and then at Taunton School in Devon, England, matriculating in 1884. He subsequently entered Lincoln's Inn in London to train as a barrister, and was called to the English bar in 1887 – the first African from his country to qualify in this way.
In 1897, along with J. W. Sey, J. P. Brown, J. E. Casely Hayford he co-founded the Aborigines' Rights Protection Society, which became the main political organisation that led organised and sustained opposition against the colonial government, laying the foundation for Ghanaian independence.
In the first birthday honours of King George V, Mensah Sarbah was recognized with the award of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George in 1910, a few months before his death at the age of 46.
Contributions to education
- Initiative of educational scholarships
- Dedication to the promotion of education
- Establishment of secondary schools
- Funding secondary education
- 1897 - Fanti Customary Laws: a brief introduction to the principles of the native laws and customs of the Fanti and Akan districts of the Gold Coast, with a report of some cases thereon decided in the Law Courts
- 1904 - Fanti Law reports
- 1906 - The Fanti National Constitution: a short treatise on the constitution and government of the Fanti, Asanti, and other Akan tribes of West Africa, together with a brief account of the discovery of the Gold Coast by Portuguese navigators, a short narration of English voyages, and a study of the rise of British Gold Coast jurisdiction, etc., etc.
- 1909 - The Palm Oil and Its Products
- Some sources (including Magnus Sampson, 1969) give 6 November 1910 as the date of Mensah Sarbah's death.
- Magnus Sampson, Makers of Modern Ghana: From Philip Quarcoo to Aggrey. Volume One, Accra: Anowuo Educational Publications, 1969, pp. 119-29.
- L. H. Ofosu-Appiah, Sarbah, John Mensah, Dictionary of African Christian Biography.
- Ghana - Early Manifestations of Nationalism, Library of Congress A Country Study: Ghana
- Nti, Kwaku, "Action and Reaction: An Overview of the Ding Dong Relationship between the Colonial Government and the People of Cape Coast", Nordic Journal of African Studies 11(1): 1-37 (2002)
- The London Gazette: . 11 June 1901.
- "Sarbah, John Mensah", in Keith A. P. Sandiford, A Black Studies Primer: Heroes and Heroines of the African Diaspora, Hansib Publications, 2008, p. 401.
- Works by or about John Mensah Sarbah in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- "The Life of John Mensah Sarbah".
- Article from Drum magazine, 1969.