Samuel Lewis (barrister)

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Sir Samuel Lewis CMG, BL (1843–1903) was a Sierra Leonean mayor of Freetown and lawyer. Sir Samuel Lewis was the first West African ever knighted and was the third Sierra Leonean to qualify as a barrister. Sir Samuel Lewis was the first mayor of Freetown after the Freetown Municipal Council was established. In 1896, he was made a knight, the first West African to achieve such an honour,[1] a year after he had been appointed mayor.


Lewis was one of nine children (eight sons and a daughter) of an Aku Recaptive merchant (in real estate and agricultural products) Elderman William Lewis of Oxford Street in the Freetown Municipal Council, and his wife Fanny. His siblings - Ebenezer Albert, Christopher Bright Lewis, William Jr, John, Josiah William, Emmanuel, Jacob and Caroline Matilda Lumpkin - were all political leaders and heads of the colonial government of Freetown. Lewis travelled to England by way of the relationship between his father William and the captain of a merchant ship that was shipping goods from Freetown to England.

Political career and legal luminary[edit]

Lewis went to England in 1866.[1] He entered the Middle Temple, and then the chambers of Samuel Danks Waddy. He moved on to a chancery chambers, and was called to the bar in 1871.[1] He returned to Freetown in 1872.[2]

Lewis and other Eldermen who formed the Freetown Municipal Council were able to convince the Colonial Government with civil protest to relinquish power and the day to day running of the Municipal Council by Black Africans.



  1. ^ a b c Peter Fryer, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, London: Pluto Press, 1984, p. 437.
  2. ^ Hargreaves, John D. "Lewis, Sir Samuel". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/72676.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)