Constance Cummings-John

(1918—2000) educationist and politician

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(1918–2000), Sierra Leonean anticolonial activist, feminist, and politician. Born Constance Agatha Horton into Sierra Leone's elite Krio (Creole) society, she attended missionary and colonial schools in Freetown. At seventeen she went to England to attend Whiteland College, an affiliate of London University. Then in 1936, she took up a six-month fellowship at Cornell University in the United States. Her stays abroad exposed her to critiques of Western imperialism, colonial rule, and racism. In London on Sundays she was drawn to Hyde Park, where speakers such as Marcus Garvey held sway. There she met and was influenced by the Sierra Leonean radical labor organizer and journalist I. T. A. Wallace-Johnson (1895–1965). Wallace-Johnson introduced Cummings-John to important Pan-Africanists and anticolonial activists such as George Padmore, C. L. R. James, and T. R. Makonnen. During her fellowship at Cornell University, she traveled to black schools in the South, Hampton and Tuskegee institutes, and was influenced by both the racism of the “Jim Crow” South and the black self-help ideology that responded to that racism.


From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History.

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