Samuel Lewis (barrister)
Sir Samuel Lewis KCMG (1843–1903) was a Sierra Leonean mayor of Freetown and lawyer. Lewis was the first West African ever knighted and was the third Sierra Leonean to qualify as a barrister. 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, 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. His parents were both liberated Africans from Egba in south western Nigeria. 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
Lewis went to England in 1866. 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. He returned to Freetown in 1872.
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.
- Peter Fryer, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, London: Pluto Press, 1984, p. 437.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- 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.)
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