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date: 26 October 2020

Cole, Christian Fredericklocked

(1852–1885), barrister, poet.
  • Pamela Roberts


Born in Waterloo, Sierra Leone in 1852, the second son of Jacob Cole of Kissey, Cole attended the oldest Western-style college in West Africa, Fourah Bay College, known as the Athens of West Africa, as a result of its strong curriculum in teaching Greek and Latin. His father died in 1872 and his uncle assumed his guardship. Cole enrolled at University College, the University of Oxford, on 19 April 1873, aged twenty-one, as a non-collegiate student to read for an Honors degree in Classical Moderation (Classics).

Cole’s matriculation was historic; he became the first black African scholar to study at the University of Oxford. The subject of his degree was deemed one of the most difficult to study and achieve. The infamous imperialist and colonist Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902) was turned down by University College when he applied to read Classics, eventually studying at Oriel College.

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