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Jeffrey Green

was born in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, around 1870. It is uncertain if we know all the names he used, but his activities were noted by authorities in England, Germany, and Jamaica, and newspapers reported his claims to be a prince of Ethiopia, heir to the king of Zululand, from Ceylon, and that his mother lived in Australia. The London-based Sierra Leonean lawyer and humorist Augustus Merriman-Labor wrote in his Britons through Negro Spectacles, or, A Negro on Britons (1909) that “credulous people …still believe that every Negro with a decent overcoat and a clean collar is an African prince” (p. 91), and Brown’s career supports that view.

Brown was a West India Regiment soldier in London in 1897, and at the beginning of the century he was in the English port of Grimsby, where he had a reputation as “a regular dandy and ‘lady killer’ ” (Grimsby ...

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David Killingray

entertainer, author, and impostor who posed as an African, was born Joseph Howard Lee in Baltimore, Maryland, the fifth child of Joseph, a cook, and Lucy Cook, a domestic servant. Little is known of Lee's early life other than that he attended the Kasesha Public School for four years and also went to the St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic church. He went to sea and in 1906 or early 1907 arrived in Liverpool, England, and joined a black touring theatrical company, the Dahomey Warriors, which performed in Scotland and in the English Midlands. After his time with the group he began to re-invent his life as a popular entertainer, describing himself as an African named LoBagola. Twenty-five years later his autobiographical account was published in New York, first in Scribner's Magazine (1929), and then as a book entitled LoBagola. An African Savage's Own Story ...

Article

Nate Plageman

Ghanaian musician and pioneer of guitar band highlife music and concert party theater, was born in Dunkwa in the Gold Coast’s Central Region. His first musical experience came at the age of eighteen when he joined one of Dunkwa’s konkoma groups, the “See There Band.” Konkoma, a percussion-driven style of brass-band highlife, first emerged in southern Gold Coast towns during the early 1930s, when it became popular among young men and migrant laborers. Despite his enthusiasm for the group, Okai’s family frowned upon his musical activities. Ultimately, his elder brother removed him from the group by sending him to Accra, where Okai studied tailoring under the care of a family friend.

In the end the forced sojourn fostered not squashed Okai s musical interests His tailoring tutor Appiah Adjekum was also a musician who had recently formed his own palmwine guitar band a highlife ensemble that combined imported elements ...