Crowther, Samuel Ajayi
- (c. 1806–91)Missionary and Bishop.Crowther was born in Oshoyun, Yorubaland. At the age of fifteen, he was captured as a slave, but was freed by the British navy and taken to Sierra Leone. There he was baptised and trained to be a missionary. He served very successfully on the 1841 Niger expedition and, as a result, was sent to London for further training and ordination. After returning to Africa, he continued to work on the Niger mission and in 1864 he was consecrated Anglican Bishop of West Africa. White missionaries, however, were unwilling to work under a black Bishop and his leadership was under constant attack. Eventually, in 1889, worn down by criticism, he resigned. A white Bishop was appointed as his successor and the Niger Delta Pastorate seceded from the control of the Church of England. The episode of Crowther’s episcopacy did not show the Anglican Church in its best light. Although official policy in the Church Missionary Society was to encourage self-government and the indigenisation of foreign Churches, this was all too often undermined by European prejudice.J.F.A. Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria 1841– 1891 (1968);J. Page, Samuel Crowther: The Slave Boy of the Niger (1932).
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